Edema



Definition

Edema (Greek word for swelling) formerly is known as dropsy which is an accumulation of the interstitium fluids located beneath the skin in one or more cavities. The amount of interstitium fluid determines the balance of the homeostasis and increases secretion of the fluid to the interstitium (impaired removal of the fluid) causing Edema or swelling.

Symptoms of Edema are as follows

Once you understand the reason, which lead to the ailment you will be able to get treatment. Basically Edema affects the lower parts of the body or hands, including chest region and abdomen. The most common symptom is when the skin becomes stretchy and at times appears puffed or looks shiny.

Causes for Edema

Patients who have been bed-ridden for long are affected with lower back or leg edema. Shortness of breath leads to chest Edema. Abdominal size increase results in abdominal Edema. Heart failure also leads to chest Edema. An injury can also give rise to Edema though the most common cause is venous disease – a blood clot. Feeble leg muscles mainly those in the calf, also results in this problem. Aged females, whose leg muscles may weaken with normal ageing, are thus extremely prone to this problem.

Edema during pregnancy

During pregnancy swelling of hands, feet and ankles is a very unpleasant experience. Though it is very far from danger but it is difficult time to cope with. At times, the swelling can be painful. Though in pregnancy such happening is quite normal, however it goes away after an unspecified period of time. The cause is basically the changing level of blood electrolytes leading to the accumulation of water in the interstitial space.

Also the growing uterus presses the veins at the pelvic area including the vena cava. Hence, slowing down the movement of blood circulation to the legs leads to swelling of the feet and ankles. One should not worry about Edema in pregnancy as after birth the swelling goes away completely and does not trouble again. Though this is not a worry related issue still to ease your mind you can consult your gynecologist especially if the swelling is painful. Edema can take place during the third pregnancy session, particularly as the delivery day comes near. During the summertime, the trouble could become more serious and painful.

Edema Treatment

As said before knowing the cause leads to better treatment. Mainly the first-line of treatment is consuming less salt. For legs treatment elevating the legs on a daily basis (under supervised vision of physiotherapists) for half an hour helps the flowing of the blood reducing swelling.

A diuretic drug is prescribed in serious pulmonary edema, which helps drain excess water and sodium through the kidneys. But be careful on the dosage as excess dose can be fatal. For treatment of Edema there are some herbal extracts that have medicinal properties that help cure Edema. Evening primrose oil, horse chestnut and dandelion leaf are very useful in the treatment of Edema.