10 Things You Should Know About Edema (Swelling)

By at April 17, 2011 | 7:52 pm | Print

10 Things You Should Know About Edema (Swelling)

by Dominique Scott

Edema (swelling) is an abnormal accumulation of fluid in the interstitium(4). What happens with Edema is that there is a very high amount of fluid that moves from the blood vessel to the interstitium (tissues) at the arterial end of the capillary, or there was not enough fluid that went back into the capillary at the venous end from the tissues. This unequal balance of fluid in the interstitium will cause a large amount of swelling in different parts of the human body(4). Edema can last a long amount of time and needs to be addressed to individuals know how to control it.

The signs and symptoms of edema:

  • Swelling underneath the skin (4).
  • Stretched skin (3).
  • Immobility of swelled body part (1).
  • The skin is able to keep a dent in it after being pressed inward for a few seconds (5).

The cause of Edema:

  • Blockage of lymph return (4).
  • Increase in capillary pressure (4).
  • Increase in capillary permeability (4).
  • Not enough plasma proteins in the capillary (4).

Diseases that can cause edema:

  • Cirrhosis(1)
  • Kidney disease(1)
  • Heart failure(4)

Mild causes of edema:

  • Consumption of too much salt(4).
  • Staying in a certain position for a long amount of time(4).

Other conditions that cause edema:

  • Blood Clots(4)
  • Pregnancy(5)
  • Medications, such as, steroids and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (5).

If edema is not treated it can cause:

  • Immobility
  • Scarring of tissue
  • Decrease circulation of blood.
  • Infection

Tests that can identify edema:

  • Blood Test(1)
  • Urine Test(1)


  • Reduce the amount of salt in your diet(4).
  • Exercise to increase blood circulation(5).
  • Diuretics medication to increase urination to decrease the salt amount in the blood vessels(2).

Alternative Treatment:

  • Hydrotherapy(5)

Remedies that an individual can perform at home to help treat edema:

  • Wear compression stockings to increase blood circulation.
  • Massage to increase blood circulation(5).
  • Stay out of very high temperatures; it could make edema worse if the body get to hot(2).


Edema has to be monitored so that it can be treated. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms in this article please make an appointment with your primary care physician. Also, you can perform some of the home remedies that were listed to help treat the edema.

Works Cited

1. Clein LJ. Edema. In: Walsh D, et al. Palliative Medicine. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2009. Accessed April 10, 2011

2. Rose BD. General principles of the treatment of edema in adults. Accessed April 10, 2011 .

3. Braunwald E, et al. Edema. In: Fauci AS, et al. Harrison’s Principles of Internal Medicine. 17th ed. New York, N.Y.: McGraw-Hill Medical; 2008. Accessed April 10, 2011.

4.Snaric, Jay. Edema Lecture. March 9, 2011.

5. Wright, Kathleen. Edema. Gale Encyclopedia of Medicine, Brd ed. 2006 7, 2011. http://www.


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