Edema (eh-DEE-mah) is swelling due to the build-up of excess fluid in the body's
More to Know
Most often edema is found in the hands, arms, feet, ankles, or legs, but it can
affect any part of the body, separately or as a whole. Signs of edema include stretched
or shiny skin
and dimples that remain in the skin after pressing down for 5 seconds.
Many things can cause edema, like sunburn, insect
bites and stings, and even some medicines. Certain diseases of the heart, liver,
and thyroid also can cause edema.
Treatment of edema depends on what's causing it. It may be as simple as taking
an antihistamine if due to an allergic reaction. Or, if it's related to the heart
or kidney, a doctor might recommend taking a medicine called a diuretic (or water
pill) to reduce swelling. Also, wearing support stockings or cutting back on salt
intake can help. If another condition, like a liver or thyroid problem, is causing
edema, the doctor will treat that, too.
Keep in Mind
Edema can be a temporary nuisance or a sign of a more serious problem. It should
be evaluated by a health care provider to determine the cause. If you see signs of
edema along with difficulty breathing or chest pain, call 911 or go to the emergency
room right away.
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