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Edema

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  • Edema

    Edema is the medical term for swelling. It is a general response of the body to injury or inflammation. Edema can be isolated to a small area or affect the entire body. Medications, infections, pregnancy, and many medical problems can cause edema. Edema results whenever small blood vessels become "leaky" and release fluid into nearby tissues. The extra fluid accumulates, causing the tissue to swell. Taking medication to remove excess fluid and reducing the amount of salt in your food often relieves edema. When edema is a sign of an underlying disease, the disease itself requires separate treatment.

  • Edema

    Symptoms:

    • Swelling or puffiness of the tissue directly under your skin
    • Stretched or shiny skin
    • Skin that retains a dimple after being pressed for several seconds
    • Increased abdominal size
  • Edema

    Diagnosis:

    To understand what might be causing edema, doctors will perform a physical exam and can ask questions about medical history. This information is often enough to determine the underlying cause of edema. In some cases, X-rays, ultrasound exams, blood tests or urine analysis may be necessary.

  • Edema

    Treatment:

    Treatment of edema often means treating the underlying cause of edema, for example, allergic reactions causing edema may be treated with antihistamines and corticosteroids. Edema resulting from a blockage in fluid drainage can sometimes be treated by eliminating the obstruction:

    • A blood clot in the leg is treated with blood thinners, and the clot slowly breaks down; leg edema then resolves as fluid drainage improves.
    • A tumor obstructing a blood vessel or lymph flow can sometimes be reduced in size or removed with surgery, chemotherapy, orradiation.

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