What is Edema? Should I Worry?

Category: Blog

An edema (or oedema) is a condition where fluid accumulates in certain tissues within your body. This fluid accumulation can occur anywhere, such as under your skin in your extremities or in your organs. In the case of fluid accumulation in the extremities, this is known as a peripheral edema, which is observable with the naked eye. This manifests as a swollen area in the limbs. The edema can also move around based in your sitting or standing position, as it shifts around in your extremities. A simple way to test if it is an edema is by pressing on the swollen area. If it causes a crater-like indentation, you likely have a pitting edema.

Edemas have many causes, but they tend to be traced back to the blood vessels. The blood vessels can sometimes leak excess fluid outside of the walls as a result of a build-up of pressure within the vessels, forcing fluid to accumulate in one place.

Edema causes can include complications from disease, a side effect from medication, or blood circulation problems whereby blood does not return to the heart from the extremities as efficiently as possible, causing a build-up of fluid. Edemas are often observed in pregnancies, as pregnant women have more fluid in the body and more fluid is retained. Edemas can be diagnosed with ultrasound or X-ray in the limbs and abdomen.

If left untreated, an edema can pose a serious issue if fluid continues to accumulate without any way escape. Many effective treatments do exist, including diuretics to drain excess fluid in conjunction with therapies to help promote fluid retention in blood vessels.

If you suspect that you are suffering from an edema in your body, contact us at Unity to learn the best way to have it treated.

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