Edema is commonly referred to as fluid retention. The characteristic symptom of edema is visible swelling. Though it commonly affects the hands, arms, feet, ankles, and legs, other parts of the body could get affected as well. The following article provides information on the symptoms of this condition.
Edema is said to occur when excess fluid gets trapped in the body’s tissues, which in turn leads to swelling of the affected part of the body. The visible swelling or puffy appearance is the main symptom of edema. Fluid retention might occur when the capillaries or the tiny blood vessels in the body get subjected to damage or increased pressure, thereby leading to the leakage of fluid from them. This leakage may also occur when there is a drop in the level of serum albumin that serves to maintain the somatic pressure of the blood. The excess fluid makes its way to the surrounding tissue, causing it to swell up.
There aren’t many symptoms that indicate fluid retention, but they are definitely prominent. Puffiness or swelling of the tissue under the skin is the characteristic indicant of edema. The skin may appear stretched or shiny. There might be an abnormal increase in the size of the affected part of the body. Puffiness of the face around the eyes, tenderness of the skin, and a dimple-like formation on the skin after being pressed for several seconds are also among the symptoms.
The affected person might get affected by a disorder of the kidneys, lungs, or heart, as these organs might have to work way harder than usual, due to the abnormal fluid buildup in the body’s tissues. Due to this, wheezing, shortness of breath, or chest pain may occur. Weight gain might occur due to the fluid accumulation. Weight loss is also a possible outcome of edema. This occurs when the fluid starts getting accumulated in the stomach and abdomen. This makes the patient feel full at all times, thereby leading to a poor appetite and ultimately, weight loss.
Edema could be mild or severe. Sitting or staying in a position for too long or excessive consumption of salty foods can give rise to mild edema. Pregnancy and PMS could also be contributing factors. Fluid retention could occur due to the use of certain medications, such as the drugs prescribed for diabetes, vasodilators (drugs for opening up blood vessels), calcium antagonists, and NSAIDs (Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs). Severe cases might be due to certain medical conditions. These might include congestive heart failure, cirrhosis, kidney disease, kidney damage, weakened or damaged lymphatic system, and trauma to the veins in the legs.
Treatment mainly involves addressing the underlying cause of the problem. Apart from treating the underlying condition, patients may also be recommended to take drugs that may help to increase the urine output. The doctor may also advise the patient to limit the intake of salt in the diet. This is to reduce the fluid retention by the body.
At home, the patient can follow a healthy diet and an exercise regimen recommended by the doctor. Keeping the affected part at a level that is higher than that of the heart is one effective remedy for reducing the swelling. Use this method 3 or 4 times a day and while sleeping. The excess fluid in the affected area might be moved out of the area by massaging or applying gentle and firm strokes towards the heart. Wearing compression stockings would also help prevent the fluid from collecting in the tissue.
You must also ensure not to expose yourself to too hot or too cold temperatures. Failing to do so, might aggravate the symptoms. So, keep yourself warm in colder climates and cool in warmer climates.
Disclaimer: The information provided in this article is solely for educating the reader. It is not intended to be a substitute for the advice of a medical expert.