There are numerous reasons you can suddenly get swelling in your body, and one of the most common conditions is edema. But while it can be non-threatening, it may also be a sign of something far more serious.

But what is edema, and what causes it? How do you treat it? Read more below to know about this condition.

What Is Edema?

Edema is the swelling that happens when fluid gets trapped in your body’s tissues. You can commonly find edema swelling in one’s ankles, feet, and legs. It can also affect parts of your body, such as the hands, abdomen, and face.

As mentioned before, edema is pretty common since there are numerous reasons why fluids get trapped in the tissues. But since mild cases of edema would go away on their own, the exact rate of edema’s occurrence is still unknown.

This condition can affect anyone. However, it commonly affects individuals who are pregnant and elderly adults who are 65 years and older.

How Does Edema Affect One’s Body?

With edema, certain parts of your body will increase in size or swell. As a result, it might prevent those affected by the condition from functioning properly in their everyday lives. But while it may be hard, you can reduce the swelling and ease your ailments by simply elevating the swollen part of your body and moving the affected area, especially when you’ve been sitting or standing around for too long. 

If you’ve noticed signs of edema, be sure to contact your healthcare provider since it’s sometimes a sign of an underlying health condition. 

Symptoms of Edema

The most obvious symptom of edema is swelling. The swelling happens when a certain body part gets bigger due to fluid buildup in your tissues. It can manifest anywhere in your body but most often affects your legs, feet, and ankles. 

The following are the symptoms that come with the swelling:

  • Mild pain or feeling sore in the affected area
  • Cough
  • Feelings of tightness in the swollen body part
  • A part of your body is larger than it was yesterday
  • The skin over the swollen body part looks shiny and stretched
  • You have trouble walking when your feet, legs, or ankles swell

Causes of Edema

When you observe the symptoms mentioned above, consult your healthcare provider immediately. By doing so, they can diagnose the symptoms you’re having and see if it’s caused by edema or something else.

After getting your diagnosis, the next step is to identify what causes fluids to build up in your tissues. The following are several possible causes for an edema diagnosis.

  • Pregnancy: When you’re pregnant, the swelling occurs when the uterus puts pressure on one’s blood vessels, specifically the blood vessels in the lower part of your body.
  • Gravity: Do you spend much time standing or sitting in one place for too long? If so, you should be aware that the water in your body naturally pulls down into your legs, feet, and arms, causing edema.
  • Poor nutrition: Ensure that you have a well-balanced diet and avoid consuming foods high in sodium since fluid could build up in different parts of your body. 
  • Compromised immune system: Burns, allergic reactions, trauma, clots, or infection can lead to edema.
  • Side effects from medication: Some drugs, especially painkillers and blood pressure medications, have edema as a side effect. Be sure to check the medication you consume for any side effects.
  • Weakened veins’ valves: With venous insufficiency, the valves in your veins are weak. As a result, the veins would have a hard time pushing blood back up to your heart, resulting in varicose veins and a buildup of fluid in the legs. 
  • Underlying medical condition: If you have kidney, liver, thyroid, lung diseases, and heart failure, edema is one of the symptoms of these conditions. 

How To Treat Edema

The treatment for the swelling depends on its causes. 

  • If the reason for your edema is an underlying health condition, then you should know the following treatment for that condition. However, note that you must consult with your physician first to get the treatment you need.
  • If edema is a side effect of the medication you consume, consult your provider about this symptom to lessen your dosage or stop it entirely. Unless your provider tells you to stop your medication, don’t decide to quit by yourself.
  • If it’s caused by chronic heart failure, the physician might recommend you change your lifestyle and eating habits to treat your fluid intake, weight, and salt intake. If you drink alcohol, your physician may also recommend reducing the amount you drink. 

How You Can Avoid Edema

There are things you can do to avoid fluid building up in your body, which include: 

  • Don’t stand and sit for long periods without moving, stretching, or going on short walks.
  • If you’re lying or sitting down, you should place a pillow under your legs to ensure that it’s elevated above the level of your heart. 
  • Reduce your salt intake.
  • Follow through with everything that your doctor tells you when taking medications. 

Final Thoughts

Edema can happen to anyone. It doesn’t discriminate and can affect an individual no matter the age, sex, or ethnicity. Hence, it’s essential to prepare and educate yourself about this disease to know what you can do if it happens to you or someone you love. 

By taking care of your body through regular physical activity, observing a balanced diet, and following your doctor’s advice, you’re sure to lessen your risk of developing this disease.

Also Read: The Global Expansion Strategy Of Disney Plus And Its Success.

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