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Join tens of thousands of doctors, health professionals and patients who receive our newsletters. Edema is swelling caused by fluid retention - excess fluid is trapped in the body's tissues.
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The cause of edema may be diagnosed by chest X-ray, blood tests, urine tests, liver function tests or heart function tests. If the capillaries (tiny blood vessels) leak fluid into the surrounding tissue the area will start to swell. Leaking capillaries will cause the kidneys to accumulate higher than normal quantities of sodium (salt) and water in order to compensate for the capillary fluid loss. If a person stands or sits still for long periods of time, there is a much higher chance of swelling.
When a woman is resting in a reclined position the enlarged uterus occasionally compresses the inferior vena cava, causing obstruction of both femoral veins, leading to edema.
A pregnant woman's blood is hypercoaguble (clots more easily), raising the risk of deep venous thrombosis (DVT), a cause of edema.
Around the period of the menopause, as well as after, hormone fluctuations can cause fluid retention. Such as vasodilators (drugs that open blood vessels), calcium channel blockers, NSAIDs (non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs), estrogens, several chemotherapy drugs, and some diabetes drugs, such as thiazolidinediones. Dietitians say low consumption of thiamine (vitamin B1), as well as insufficient vitamins B6 and B5, may contribute toward fluid retention. Patients with kidney disease may not be able to eliminate enough fluid and sodium from the blood. Damage to the capillaries in the kidneys (glomeruli) that filter waste and excess fluids from the blood can result in nephrotic syndrome. Chronic lung disease includes many lung diseases, such as asthma, chronic bronchitis, COPD, emphysema, pulmonary fibrosis and sarcoidosis.
A patient with diabetes may have edema for several different reasons, including cardiovascular disease and its associated complications, acute renal failure, acute liver failure, protein-losing enteropathy (disease of the intestine causing protein loss) and some medications. People with arthritis most commonly have swelling in the ankles, feet, legs, and calves - peripheral edema. A brain tumor will accumulate water around itself, especially as it builds new blood vessels. A blow to the head may result in an accumulation of fluids in the brain or between the brain and the skull.
If the damage is due to lymphedema it is called primary lymphedema, if it is caused by disease or medical condition, such as an infection or cancer, it is caused secondary lymphedema.
Individuals with diabetes have a significantly higher risk of developing diabetic eye disease. New research has found that in cases of lung edema, or fluid in the lungs, not only do the lungs fail to keep water out as previously believed, but they are also allowing water to pump in. On the next page we look at the symptoms of edema, how it is diagnosed and the treatment options for edema.
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Please note: Any medical information published on this website is not intended as a substitute for informed medical advice and you should not take any action before consulting with a health care professional. Learn all about DVT (deep vein thrombosis), a blood clot that forms in a vein in the body (commonly the leg).
Normally swollen feet should not be a concern for many of us whose job involves standing or walking for long time.
Lymphedema: There will be accumulation of lymphatic fluid when there is some problem in the lymph nodes or lymph vessels.
Insufficiency of veins: This is a condition in which blood randomly moves in the veins in the region from legs to feet and up to the heart. Presence of blood clots in the veins of feet may reduce the blood-flow from the legs to the heart. Prolonged use of contraceptives, repeated hormone therapy like estrogen can cause swollen feet. Some doctors prescribe calcium blockers like cardizem, dilacor tiazac and plendil for certain types of hypertension, may cause inflammation.
Do exercise regularly, drink plenty of water, stop using laxatives, cut down salt intake, and avoid standing in the same position for long time. Swollen hands and fingers can become an uncomfortable condition, and you can face difficulty in bending and touching your fingers and hands. These organs helps in the filtration of your body fluids, but abnormal functioning of these can result in excess fluid retention in your body. Homemade remedies are free from chemicals and do not have any side effects also.  Turmeric powder is one of the natural antiseptic powders which contain valuable properties that help in healing wound. Oil from tea tree is full of antibacterial, antivirus and antifungal properties; therefore, applying oil of tea tree on swollen fingers and hands can cure irritation and wounds. Swelling of fingers and hands also occur if you consume alcohol; thus, you must reduce the intake of alcohol and start consuming lots of water.



Lymphedema : When there is excess of fluid accumulation in the lymph vessels it may cause swelling. Finally, it can be due to side effects of any drugs of calcium channel blockers and antidepressant medicines.
Apart from swelling in the ankles or legs, there may be moderate to severe pain while walking or moving the legs. You can keep your legs in the elevated position (above the heart) for facilitating easy blood flow. In case of minor foot injury and sprain, you can use ice packs or wrap the foot with compressions.
Your doctor will first identify the underlying cause of swelling in the feet before giving treatment. Doing exercise and physiotherapy can help the person to overcome various causes of swelling. Swelling simply refers to the enlargement of a body part, which occurs when fluid accumulates in the tissues.
Swelling, also called edema or, when it is very serious, anasarca, happens in two different ways.
Causes of localized swelling can include an injury to the bone or muscle, such as a twisted or sprained wrist or ankle, tendonitis, which results from small tears around the tendon, or bursitis, which is the swelling of the sac that cushions the joints.
Causes of generalized swelling include eating too much salt or sodium, which causes your body to retain water. Swelling of either sort can be caused by the fluctuation of hormones within the body, such as that experienced by women during pregnancy or before menstruation.
This swelling is normal unless is occurs very suddenly in the face and hands, and then it may be a sign of preeclampsia, or high blood pressure. In most cases, the treatment will focus upon the underlying condition that is causing the swelling in the first place.
In some cases, though, swelling can be a sign of a serious problem and must be addressed immediately. In some cases, it is not possible to determine the severity or threat of the swelling without a medical evaluation. It can appear suddenly, but usually develops subtly - the patient may first gain weight, or wake up with puffy eyes. This results in more blood circulating in the body, which in turn causes even more capillary leakage into the surrounding tissue, which produces additional swelling - a vicious cycle.
Acute mountain sickness can lead to high altitude pulmonary edema or high altitude cerebral edema.
During high temperatures, the body is less efficient at removing fluid from tissues, especially around the ankles. Eclampsia, which results from pregnancy-induced hypertension (high blood pressure), can also cause edema.
During the days before menstrual bleeding, there will be a reduction in the levels of the hormone, progesterone, which may cause fluid retention. Low levels of albumin may also play a part - low albumin levels can also be caused by kidney disease. This results in more pressure on the blood vessels, which causes some of the liquid to leak out.
Among the many symptoms of nephrotic syndrome is an insufficient level of blood albumin, which leads to edema. If one or both of the lower chambers of the heart lose the ability to pump blood effectively, the blood can accumulate in the limbs, causing edema. This affects liver function, which causes the secretion of hormones and fluid-regulating chemicals to change. Arthritis may cause swelling for many reasons, for example, sporadic ankle swelling in rheumatoid arthritis is common and occurs mainly, as a result, of active inflammatory synovitis (inflammation of the synovial membrane, the lining of the joint). This causes an increase in pressure in the vein, which may result in leakage of fluids into the surrounding tissue, causing edema. Varicose veins usually occur because valves become damaged; static pressure increases, resulting in the bulging veins.
If this system is damaged the lymph nodes and lymph vessels which continually drain an area may not work as they should, it could result in edema.
But new research reveals that less than 50% of US adults with diabetic macular edema - retina swelling that can lead to blindness - are told by their doctor that diabetes is the cause of their condition, and less than 60% had a dilated eye exam in the last year. There will be continuous movement of lymphatic fluid in the bloodstream and due to any reason, if it gets blocked, it may give rise to lymphedema.
Here the veins flow the blood moving in one way direction thus keeping the blood flow insufficient. They would get nerve problem called diabetic neuropathy causing foot infection leading to formation of sores and blisters causing nerve damage.
There is every chance for fluid accumulation in the feet when kidneys are not functioning properly or when there is leakage in liver or when there is sudden heart failure. Using antidepressant drugs like norpramin, aventyl, amitriptyline, endep and nardil can cause swelling of feet.
Hand swelling is also known as edema, and this can even result from severe infections or trauma. Both fingers and hands are the most overworked parts of your body; therefore, they are normal to get swollen.


In maximum cases, the main cause for swelling in hands and fingers is due to retention of more fluids.
Apart from this, Carpel Tunnel Syndrome (CTS) is also responsible for swollen fingers and hands.
There are a number of creams and lotions available in the market for reducing swelling of hands and fingers.
Always consult your doctor so that he or she can help you to get rid of swollen fingers and hands quickly. This happens when there is inadequate supply of blood that is moving upwards from the legs to the heart. For some people, swelling happens in the evening indicating retention of salt and heart failure.
Some people will be comfortable while sitting but feel intense pain while walking or moving their legs.
In pregnancy, swelling occurs around the ankles, feet, hands and face due to the higher levels of blood and other fluids produced by the body during this time. When a woman is pregnant, her face will typically swell, as will her hands, lower limbs and feet. People with cirrhosis of the liver also have increased pressure within the portal vein - the large vein that carries blood from the intestines, spleen and pancreas, into the liver.
The static pressure also increases the risk of leakage of fluids into the surrounding tissue.
The lump may press against a vein causing a build-up of pressure in that vein, which may result in fluids leaking into surrounding tissue. In case of abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting symptoms, then you should consult your doctor immediately.
Sometimes, the ligaments may not sit properly when stretched beyond its limit for some reasons.
Due to this process, the valves get damaged and in turn blood drains down the veins causing accumulation of fluid in lower legs, causing swollen feet.
They would not feel any sensation in their feet and hence swollen feet during diabetes is truly a matter of concern. You need to consult your doctor when you have symptoms of fatigue, loss of breath, sudden weight gain and loss of appetite along with swollen feet.
Swollen fingers and hands during pregnancy are common, as this is caused because of water retention in the body. These days most of these products include harmful chemicals which results in irritation and allergy. Garlic is another natural ingredient which helps you to get rid of swollen fingers and hands.
You need to consult your doctor if there is excess of swelling with headaches, abdominal pain and nausea.
Sometimes, there may be injury in the ligaments which is holding the ankle when it is stretched beyond limit. Certain allergic reactions, varicose veins and using contraceptive pills may also cause swollen feet. He will suggest you to wear support stockings if your problem is due to venous insufficiency.
Swelling in pregnancy happens due to high temperatures in the summertime, standing for long periods of time, long periods of activity with no rest, too little potassium in the diet, or too much caffeine or sodium in the blood.
The CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) estimates that the number of cases of diabetic retinopathy will triple from 5.5 million in 2005 to 16 million in 2050. Sometimes, this condition can become fatal if there is no absolute blood flow from the heart to the feet area.
Any abnormality that takes place in kidney and liver can even cause swelling in fingers and hands. Swollen fingers and hands is also a sign of arthritis, blood disorder, heart disease and thyroid malfunction. Chopped garlic has a powerful chemical substance known as Allicin; this is a strong antibiotic. Venous insufficiency occurs when there is any problem in the valves thus leaking the blood down into the vessels of the lower legs. Inadequate secretion of albumin can cause liver disease which can create swelling in the ankles. If swelling is due to edema, you will be put on diuretic drugs for increasing the output of urine.
You can also apply ice packs or keep the leg in elevated position for reducing inflammation. It improves your immune system and helps in preventing germs, as well as reproduction of germs.



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