Your Body May Be At Risk of Suffering From Edema

Edema can be an uncomfortable symptom for anyone. Described as swelling caused from fluid inside the body’s tissues, edema can occur in multiple places. Edema can be a warning sign of an underlying condition or a symptom of medication. Because the cause of edema can rarely be determined simply by looking at the swollen or affected area, a medical examination is usually required. Only a trained, medical professional can provide an accurate diagnosis.

If edema is left untreated, this type of symptom can create future complications. Negative effects of edema include difficulty walking, increased risk of infection, decreased blood circulation, and scarring. Without accurately concluding the cause of edema, potentially serious health conditions can go undiagnosed. Successful treatment of edema usually depends on the underlying cause, but there are ways to relieve pain. Before starting any kind of treatment, seeing a physician is advised.

Causes of Edema

Edema is a relatively common problem that affects many different types of individuals. The symptoms of edema include:

  • Puffiness underneath the skin
  • Increased size of the abdomen
  • Abnormally shiny skin
  • Weight gain

Depending on the cause, edema can be a sign of a potentially dangerous health condition. Pulmonary edema, for instance, requires immediate attention. This can cause additional symptoms such as shortness of breath or chest pain.

Mild cases can result from diet. Salty food can cause fluid to build up in surrounding tissue which frequently leads to a swelling under the skin. Long plane rides where legs are stationary for hours can also cause swelling. Hormonal conditions such as pregnancy and premenstrual symptoms may also produce swelling. Certain medications can cause edema as well. Edema will usually go away if those medications are discontinued. To find out more about edema treatments associated with certain medications, talking to a physician is recommended.

There are three potentially serious health conditions which can potentially function as causes of edema. They include: 

  1. Inadequate lymphatic system. The lymphatic system can clear additional fluid from the tissues. If an individual has had surgery from cancer, the lymph nodes may not be able to successfully drain an area.
  2. Damaged veins. Chronic venous insufficiency can negatively impact the legs. When the veins are weakened, blood gathers in the veins and causes swelling. This can be due to a blood clot.
  3. Congestive heart failure. Congestive heart failure means a heart’s lower chamber loses its ability to effectively pump blood. When this happens, blood can cause legs, ankles, and feet to swell.

Living With Edema

Edema can sometimes be prevented by exercise and diet. If edema has been caused by the buildup of salt or a lack of movement, simply walking and drinking more water can help reduce symptoms. Other forms of edema must be treated with the help of a medical professional.

Since edema is usually a symptom of another health condition, the underlying condition must be treated. If it is not due to diet or lack of movement, a physician can help examine and diagnose the issue. Depending on the cause, a doctor might recommend something to flush out extra salt and fluid buildup. There are a few tips to control edema. These tips can be done without prescription medications to ease pain and swelling.

Elevating the legs is recommended. If an individual with edema is lying down, the legs must be elevated slightly above the surface. If sitting in a chair for long periods of time, resting legs on another chair can help keep swelling to a minimum. Support stockings can place pressure on the legs to deter fluid from building in the ankles or legs. These can usually be purchased at a pharmacy or convenience store.

Standing or sitting for long periods of time is not advised. Regular movement can help circulate the blood and decrease swelling. Stretching and walking are excellent ways to prevent edema, however they must be done on a regular basis.

Living with edema looks different for everyone. Depending on the cause of this symptom, this may involve regular visits with a physician. It may also involve lifestyle changes such as adjusting diet or exercise. Edema can be uncomfortable and even painful if not adequately treated. A medical examination is usually the first course of action to receive proper care.

Medical Disclaimer: The information presented on are for general informational purposes only, the writer may not necessarily have medical or scientific training. This information is not reviewed by a physician. Some of these articles may contain information about treatments or the use of a pharmaceutical product that has not been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration. does not endorse any specific product, service or treatment. Results on any service or treatment may vary from person-to-person.

This article should not be considered as medical advice. Do not delay or disregard seeking professional advice from a certified doctor or other qualified healthcare provider. Always speak with a doctor before starting, stopping, or changing any prescribed care or treatment plan. provides this reading material as a helpful resource, but it should never be a substitute for professional medical advice, care, diagnosis or treatment from a medical physician, a certified personal trainer, a therapist, a dietitian, or a nutritionist. If in a medical emergency, call a doctor or dial 911 immediately.