General or Other | Cardiology | Edema (Symptom)


Edema is swelling caused by excess fluid trapped in a person body's tissues. Although edema can affect any part of the body, it's most commonly noticed in the hands, arms, feet, ankles and legs.


Edema can be the result of medication, pregnancy or an underlying disease, often heart failure, kidney disease or cirrhosis of the liver.

The leg edema or swelling of the legs is usually caused by an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the tissues of the lower extremity.

Less common causes of leg swelling are diseases that cause the thickness of the layers of the skin such as scleroderma and eosinophilic fasciitis. Among the types of edema requiring urgent diagnosis include: erysipelas or cellulitis, thrombophlebitis, lymphedema associated with pelvic malignancies in general and edema dissociated to heart failure.

Diagnosis and 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, whereas leg endema related to congestive heart failure or liver disease can be treated with diuretics.


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