What Is Edema?
Edema, also known as dropsy, is swelling caused by fluid retention. Edema usually occurs in
the legs, ankles, or feet. But it can also occur in the hands, the face, or any
other part of the body.
What Causes Edema?
usually a symptom of another condition. In women, it is often a sign of
pregnancy or a sign that the menstrual cycle is about to occur (Mayo Clinic, 2011).
illnesses such as heart failure, kidney disease, and liver problems (such as
cirrhosis) may also cause edema.
such as those prescribed for high blood pressure, diabetes, or pain, can cause
edema. Sometimes, edema is a result of damaged or varicose veins in the legs.
mastectomy, edema can be a result of removal of the lymph nodes. This form of
edema is known as lymphedema.
A poor diet,
especially a diet containing too much salt, can cause mild edema or worsen it
when combined with other conditions. Lack of activity can cause edema. But
spending too much time on your feet, especially in hot weather, can worsen it (Medline Plus, 2013).
When to Seek Help for Edema
experience edema while pregnant, call a doctor. It can be an indicator of
assistance if you have trouble breathing. In pulmonary edema, the lungs fill
with water. This is a serious medical condition.
The two most
common solutions for alleviating edema are reducing salt intake and keeping the
legs up when sitting.
salt and eat healthily. Too much sodium can cause or aggravate edema. It's
important to eat foods rich in vitamins A, C, E, and B, as well as green
vegetables. Moderate exercise can keep swelling from occurring. Avoid tobacco
support stockings or apply pressure to the swollen area.
acupuncture or massage.
remedies such as bilberry, dandelion, and grape seed extract may alleviate
medical professional may recommend hot or cold therapy.
life-threatening illness is causing edema, see a doctor immediately.
The advice you
receive from a medical professional will depend upon your condition:
Fluid retention can be dangerous for pregnant women. Diuretics may be
disease: For people with heart failure, diuretics used in conjunction with
other medications can improve symptoms.
of the liver: Reducing salt and taking a diuretic improves symptoms.
Diuretics can he helpful during the early onset of lymphedema. Now that
breast cancer surgery is much less invasive, this form of edema is
becoming less common (O’Brien, et al., 2005).
edema: Diuretics do not work in these instances.
edema, stay as physically active as you are able, avoid excess sodium in your
diet, and follow your doctor’s orders regarding any conditions that cause