Edema is an excessive accumulation of fluid in the soft tissues of the body.
The fluid can accumulate in the subcutaneous fatty tissue, which first of all attracts attention: the lower legs, feet, fingers increase in volume, puffiness of the face appears, bags under the eyes.
In addition, internal edema occurs: edema of the lungs, brain and meninges. Fluid can accumulate in body cavities: the abdominal cavity, the pleural cavity (around the lungs), the pericardial cavity (heart sac), and so on. Internal edema is often spoken of during pregnancy.
Why are there swelling?
Causes of edema the most diverse and in each case require medical diagnosis. The most common of them:
- The wall of the blood and lymphatic vessels becomes more permeable to the liquid part of the blood, which leaks into the surrounding tissues. This is the main cause of edema during inflammation, an allergic reaction.
- In the blood, the amount of salts, protein or glucose decreases. As a result, according to the law of osmosis, the fluid from the blood vessels penetrates into the surrounding tissues, seeking to “dilute” the more concentrated intracellular fluid. This happens with liver diseases, blood diseases, starvation, liver pathology.
- Blood or lymph stagnates in the vessels, its current slows down, the pressure of the intravascular fluid locally increases on the walls of the capillaries, which leads to its leakage into the surrounding tissues. This type of edema is characteristic of varicose veins, pathology of the lymphatic system, and some types of tumors. The cause of general (systemic) edema with a similar mechanism is heart failure, when the heart is not able to “pump” blood through the body at the right speed.
- Sometimes the pathology of the nervous system becomes the cause of edema, when the vessels receive incorrect information about the need to increase or decrease the lumen and permeability of the wall.
Read more: Manifestations of edema
How to determine swelling?
Edema of the subcutaneous fatty tissue is easily determined “by eye”. In addition to an increase in volume, there is a characteristic sign: after pressing with a finger, a hole forms.
You can determine the dynamics of edema by daily measuring the diameter of the swollen limb with a centimeter tape.
An indirect sign of internal edema during pregnancy is a pathological weight gain.
How to treat edema?
With edema of any localization and any origin, it is recommended to immediately see a doctor.
With cardiac, renal, venous and hepatic edema, diuretics will have an effective effect.
With allergic and inflammatory edema – taking antiallergic (antihistamine) drugs. With arthritis and arthrosis – taking anti-inflammatory drugs.
But do not forget that edema in itself is not a disease, but only a consequence and the underlying disease must be treated. And only a doctor can prescribe the right treatment.