Edema is swelling that is caused by fluid trapped in your body’s tissues. Edema happens most often in the feet, ankles, and legs, but can affect other parts of the body, such as the face, hands, and abdomen. It can also involve the entire body. Edema can be the result of medication, pregnancy or an underlying disease often heart failure, kidney disease or cirrhosis of the liver.
Edema occurs when tiny blood vessels in your body (capillaries) leak fluid. The fluid builds up in surrounding tissues, leading to swelling. Mild cases of edema may result from sitting or staying in one position for too long, eating too much salty food, premenstrual signs and symptoms, pregnancy. Edema can be a side effect of some medications like high blood pressure medications, nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, steroid drugs, estrogens, certain diabetes medications called thiazolidinediones.
Edema occurs in specific organs:
• Cerebral edema is extracellular fluid accumulation in the brain. It can occur in toxic or abnormal metabolic states and conditions such as systemic lupus or reduced oxygen at high altitudes. It causes drowsiness or loss of consciousness
• Pulmonary edema occurs when the pressure in blood vessels in the lung is raised because of obstruction to the removal of blood via the pulmonary veins. This is usually due to failure of the left ventricle of the heart.
• Edema may also be found in the cornea of the eye with glaucoma, severe conjunctivitis or keratitis or after surgery. Sufferers may perceive coloured haloes around bright lights
. • Edema surrounding the eyes is called periorbital edema or eye puffiness.
• Another cutaneous form of edema is myxedema, which is caused by increased deposition of connective tissue. In myxedema, edema is caused by an increased tendency of the tissue to hold water within its extracellular space.
• In lymphedema abnormal removal of interstitial fluid is caused by failure of the lymphatic system. This may be due to obstruction from, for example, pressure from a cancer or enlarged lymph nodes, destruction of lymph vessels by radiotherapy, or infiltration of the lymphatics by infection.
• Hydrops fetalis is a condition of the fetus characterized by an accumulation of fluid, or edema, in at least two fetal compartments.
Signs and symptoms of edema include 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.
Mild edema usually goes away on its own, particularly if you help things along by raising the affected limb higher than your heart. More severe edema may be treated with drugs that help your body expel excess fluid in the form of urine (diuretics). One of the most common diuretics is furosemide. Long-term management typically focuses on treating the underlying cause of the swelling. If edema occurs as a result of medication use, your doctor may adjust your prescription or check for an alternative medication that doesn't cause edema.