Edema is a medical term, which means swelling.
You body parts can swell from injury or inflammation; additionally edema can impact a small area or the entire body.
Many things can cause edema such as pregnancy, infections, and many other more serious conditions.
Edema happens when small blood vessels leak fluid into nearby tissues. The extra fluid builds up, which makes the tissue swell.
Edema can happen almost anywhere in the body. However, the location of the swelling can sometimes indicates the seriousness and what type of illness you may have if at all.
Types of Edema
Pedal Edema: This is when fluid builds up in the feet and lower legs. This type of edema is more common if you are older or pregnant. One of the worst side effects is losing feeling in your feet, which can make walking difficult if not dangerous.
Peripheral Edema: This type of edema usually impacts the legs, feet and ankles however not so common, can appear in the arms.
Peripheral edema could be a sign of issues with your lymph nodes, kidneys, or circulatory system.
Lymphedema: This type of edema is swelling in the arms and legs and it is most often caused by damage to your lymph nodes.
Cerebral Edema: This is actually a very serious edema in which the fluid gathers in the brain. It can happen if you experience head trauma or if a blood vessel bursts or gets blocked. It can also be the result of a tumor or an allergic reaction of some sort.
Your lymph nodes are tissues that help filter germs and waste from your body. Receiving cancer treatments such as surgery and/or radiation sometimes causes Lymphedema. The cancer itself can also block lymph nodes and lead to edema.
Macular Edema: This type of edema is when fluid builds up in part of your eye. This part of the eye is called the macula, which is the center of the retina, the light-sensitive tissue at the back of the eye.
Pulmonary Edema: When you have a type of edema whereas fluid collects in the air sacs in your legs, this is known as pulmonary edema. It makes it really hard for you to breathe and it’s much worse if you lie down.
You could also feel a fast heartbeat, feel suffocated, and cough up foamy spit. Your spit can sometimes contain blood, if this happens call 911 immediately.
What Can Cause Edema?
Many things can cause edema such as a bee sting, a twisted ankle or a skin infection.
Ironically, if you have an infection of some sort an edema can be helpful. It can be helpful because more fluid from your vessels puts more infection-fighting white blood cells in the swollen area.
Allergic reactions can cause edema. In response to the allergen the nearby blood vessels will leak fluid into the affected area.
Additionally, if there is some sort of an obstruction of the flow of fluid somewhere in your body the fluid can build up. A blood clot for example that is located deep in the veins of your leg can cause leg edema. A tumor blocking the flow of blood or another fluid called lymph can cause edema.
Congestive heart failure, which is a more serious issue, happens when the heart weakens and has trouble pumping blood. Fluid will start to build up slowly and this can create a leg edema. If the fluid builds up quickly it can also build in the lungs.
Liver disease can cause you retain fluid. The fluid leaks into the abdomen and can also cause leg edema. Kidney disease however can cause severe leg edema and sometimes whole-body edema.
Head trauma, low blood sodium, high altitudes and brain tumors, and a block in fluid drainage in the brain can cause cerebral edema. So can headaches, confusion, unconsciousness, and being in a coma.
Some medications such as naproxen, ibuprofen, and some steroids can also cause swelling; however, it’s usually a mild leg edema.
If you find yourself with an edema you must first treat its underlying cause.
The most important thing is you should never ignore any type of swelling in your body. If you find yourself suspecting you have some sort of an edema see your physician as soon as possible.
A delay in treatment can cause your situation to worsen. It is always better to be on the safe side.
Contact Us for Treatment Options for Edema
If you’re from the Birmingham AL or surrounding area we want you to know that we provide the most comprehensive, progressive, and personal care available for anything edema related. We can work with you to find the underlying cause of your swelling.
During your visit our specialist(s) will review your medical history and develop a treatment plan to get you on the path to better health.