Edema is the term used to refer to swelling caused by fluid retention in the medical world. The source of swelling could be any form of physical impact or inflammation anywhere in the body. It usually occurs when small blood arteries leak fluid into nearby tissues and build up to the point of swelling. It may impact a minor area or the entire body, hindering essential daily activity.
Types Of Edema
There are several types. Each can be an indication of some other medical condition. The most common types include:
1. Peripheral edema:
- The affected areas include the feet, ankles, legs, hands, and arms. These areas may observe puffiness, and they may be hard to move.
2. Periorbital edema
- leads to temporary inflammation or puffiness around the eyes.
3. Pitting edema:
- This type of It makes it easily detectable for doctors that any pressure applied to the skin over the affected area will leave a pit in the skin.
4. Macular edema:
- This type of It is an after-effect of diabetic retinopathy. It affects a person’s central vision or sense of color as it occurs in the macula, the part of the eye responsible for these features.
5. Pulmonary edema:
- The accumulation of excess fluid in the lungs can make breathing difficult. It is often caused by acute lung injury or congestive heart failure and is considered a medical emergency, possibly leading to respiratory failure and even death.
6. Cerebral edema:
- A life-threatening condition that takes place in the brain.
Causes of edema can also be considered to be the symptoms of possible medical conditions beyond mere swelling. Critical conditions that cause swelling include:
- allergic reactions
- thyroid disorders
- blood clots
- kidney diseases
- liver issues
- heart failure
- certain cancers and chemotherapy
Other causes of edema include:
- protein malnutrition
- obstructive sleep apnea
- previous radiation treatments
- chronic venous insufficiency
- prior lymph node resection
Some medications can also cause edema:
- pain drugs
- inflammation medications
- diabetes medications
- high blood pressure medications
The edema symptom is swelling, which mainly affects one’s feet, ankles, and legs. Furthermore, the symptom of swelling can include the following effects on the affected area:
- increasing in size over time
- stretching out of the skin
- shining of the skin
- sore feeling
- struggling with the basic functionality of the affected area, e.g., difficulty in walking if the legs or feet are swollen
- possible coughing or trouble breathing normally
A physical examination will help the healthcare provider detect edema, and further diagnostic tests can be conducted to investigate the cause and the possibility of some other conditions.
The doctor in charge will recommend a treatment for edema concerning its underlying cause. For instance, if one’s It is triggered by an allergic reaction, taking the appropriate allergy medication will help cure the swelling.
Since the prime cause of It can is connected to restrained fluid drainage, getting the fluid flowing again in the vessels or removing the extra fluid from tissues can also be a treatment. An example of this treatment is blood thinners used to eradicate blood clots.
Other methods to shrink and remove similar tumors or lymph include:
It is caused by liver disease or congestive heart failure and is treated with a diuretic like furosemide. Restricting sodium intake also helps cure edema.
Though edema is often considered a symptom or side effect of other medical conditions, some factors can raise the risk of developing edema as a severe condition. These include:
- Poor diet: containing an excess of salt
- Malnutrition: low levels of protein in the diet
- Lack of exercise or any physical movement: sitting or standing in a single location for long periods, especially in a hotter environment
- Varicose veins or damaged veins in the legs
- Lymph removal surgeries (lymphedema)
If not for proper and immediate treatment, It can lead to further sinister complications like:
- Skin stretching out
- An itchy and uncomfortable feeling in the affected area
- Poor blood circulation
- Elevating pain in the affected region
- Risk of infection
- Scarring between layers of tissue
- Difficulty walking
- Decreased elasticity of arteries, veins, joints, and muscles
- High risk of skin ulcers