Oedema is when your body accumulates excessive fluid in the tissue, resulting in swelling and puffiness. It is also known as fluid retention or, historically, dropsy.
Your legs, ankles, feet, arms, hands, and even face can be afflicted by the condition, though it most commonly appears in these areas.
Although it is not severe, oedema can be uncomfortable and inconvenient. Treatment for mild cases typically involves using medication to reduce fluid accumulation and salt consumption, which can help prevent the condition from occurring.
Oedema is a condition characterised by the abnormal accumulation of fluids in the body tissues, which causes swelling. In some cases, the cause of the node is not immediately apparent, but it can result from a medical condition that requires treatment.
There are different symptoms associated with this disorder depending on what is causing it, but some to look out for are:
If you experience swelling in your legs, feet, or ankles, it is likely due to activities such as flying or walking around for an extended period. This type of swelling is usually harmless and should resolve on its own. If swelling persists, you should consult a medical professional.
If the swelling and puffiness do not go away, it is advisable to visit a doctor. Additionally, if any previously mentioned symptoms are accompanied by swelling, a doctor
should be consulted.
If the cause of your oedema is not immediately apparent, our doctors can recommend further tests or refer you to a specialist for further investigation.
If you experience any symptoms of breathing difficulty, pain in your chest, or shortness of breath, seek immediate medical attention at your local ER.
If you experience swelling in your legs after a long flight or period of immobility, and if this is accompanied by persistent pain, it is essential to seek medical attention urgently. This could be indicative of deep vein thrombosis.
If you are expecting a baby and experience sudden swelling, it is essential to contact your doctor or midwife as soon as possible. This could be a sign of pre-eclampsia, a dangerous condition for both mother and child.
If you experience mild swelling that disappears quickly, don't worry; if the swelling persists, it could be a sign of something more serious, and you should seek medical attention. Various conditions can cause oedema, so getting it checked out is essential.
In some cases, the source of the swelling is unknown, referred to as idiopathic oedema. This type of oedema can be treated with lifestyle adjustments such as a healthy diet, weight loss, and reduced salt intake.
Oedema occurs as a result of a variety of medical conditions, including:
In heart failure, the heart cannot pump blood around the body effectively; it can cause fluid accumulation in the extremities, such as the legs, feet and ankles. Additionally, fluid can accumulate in the lungs, a condition known as pulmonary oedema, due to heart failure.
Kidney disease: Your kidneys are not functioning optimally; some of the liquid they process can seep out and accumulate in the surrounding tissues, leading to swelling.
Nephrotic syndrome- is a condition in which the kidneys cannot retain proteins in the blood, leading to a loss of proteins through the kidneys. Sufferers of this condition often experience oedema in the feet, hands and eyes, as well as other symptoms such as fatigue and difficulty breathing.
Liver disease of the abdomen and legs can occur due to fluid leakage from the liver in cases of liver disease.
Malnutrition - leads to a decrease in the amount of plasma proteins circulating in the blood, which results in fluid leaking out from the blood vessels into the body tissues.
Thyroid conditions -Fluid retention can be a symptom of an underlying thyroid condition, resulting in an imbalance of hormones in the body.
Pregnancy - It is common for pregnant women to experience oedema, a swelling that develops gradually. If the swelling appears suddenly, contacting a midwife or doctor immediately is important, as this could be a sign of pre-eclampsia.
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) -If you experience swelling in a leg after a prolonged period of immobility, such as a long haul flight, and this is accompanied by leg pain, it could be an indication of deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and you should seek urgent help.
Allergic reaction -An allergic reaction leads to inflammation, resulting in swelling of particular body parts.
Varicose veins -When weakened or damaged, fluids can leak into your tissues, causing the veins to bulge and become varicose. This can lead to swelling and other uncomfortable symptoms.
Lymphoedema -The lymphatic system removes excess fluid from the tissues. If it doesn't work as it should, swelling can occur, known as lymphoedema. This condition can be caused by surgery or infections.
Medicines that may cause oedema include:
Consult a doctor for more information and further testing if you are experiencing oedema. This list only covers some of the potential causes.
In most cases, mild oedema will not require medical intervention. To reduce the swelling, it is suggested that you raise and rest the affected area. However, if the oedema does not improve, it is advised to seek medical advice for further treatment or tests to identify the root cause.
Oedema treatment depends on what is causing your symptoms. Doctors may recommend:
These natural remedies should help reduce the swelling, and you can employ these strategies to prevent it from occurring again.
It is important only to take diuretics or water tablets if directed by a doctor, as they can cause damage to the kidneys. It may even have the reverse effect of worsening fluid retention. Additionally, these medications can cause unpleasant side effects.
If the cause of the oedema is an underlying medical condition, treatment of this condition will be necessary to bring relief from the symptoms.
Our doctors are available through video consultation to assess any symptoms of oedema that you may have. You can also visit a pharmacy to have your blood pressure taken or purchase a home blood pressure monitor. Scheduling an appointment at a time and place of your convenience will help you receive the care you need.
If you are experiencing shortness of breath, chest pain or difficulty breathing while on a plane or after a long period of immobility, or if you are pregnant and suddenly develop oedema, it is important to seek immediate medical attention.
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