Edema is accumulation of fluid in tissue which causes the ankles, eyelid, hands and other parts of the body to swell. It happens when using certain medications, retaining salt, pregnancy, allergies and other underlying health conditions.
Symptoms of edema
- A stretched or shiny skin
- Inflammation or puffiness of the tissues found under the skin
- Skin that holds a dimple after the area has been pressed for several minutes
- Increased size of the abdomen
When there is shortness of breath, chest pain, and difficulty breathing, seek medical help immediately. These might be indications of pulmonary edema.
- Edema can be caused by small blood vessels in the body or capillaries that leak fluid and accumulates in the surrounding tissue.
- Eating excessively salty foods
- Sitting or staying in one position for long periods of time
- Premenstrual signs and symptoms
- Edema can be side effects of certain medications such as for high blood pressure, estrogen, medications for diabetes and steroid drugs.
- Conditions that can result to edema include cirrhosis, kidney disease, congestive heart failure, damage on the kidney, inadequate lymphatic system and weakness or damage to veins in the legs.
- Avoid sitting for long periods of time to prevent the edema from worsening. Perform gentle exercises to increase the flow of blood and pump the fluid back into the heart to lessen the swelling. Take a short walk several times every day for increased circulation in the area for at least 15-30 minutes several times every day or perform brisk walking.
- Elevate the affected area above the level of the heart several times every day. Use pillows in elevating the area at least 30 minutes at 3-4 times every day.
- Massage the affected area in the direction toward the heart using firm pressure to move excess fluid out of the area.
- Wear a compression stocking, sleeve or glove to maintain pressure and prevent accumulation of fluids in the tissues. Another alternative is using an inflatable pump that is placed around the affected area to lessen the swelling.
- Keep the affected area clean, moisturized and free from injuries since cracked and dry skin are susceptible to cuts, scrapes and infections. Always wear protection for the feet where swelling usually happens.
- Minimize the consumption of salt in the diet to lessen the fluid accumulation.
- Eat a healthy diet that is rich in fruits and vegetables to lessen the inflammation such as fish, seafoods, nuts, sunflowers, beans, peas, potatoes and almonds