Edema refers to swelling caused due to excessive fluid being trapped in the tissues of the body. Even though edema can occur in any part of the body, it typically affects the arms, hands, legs, ankles and feet.
Edema can occur due to pregnancy, medication or an underlying disease, which is usually heart failure, liver cirrhosis or kidney disease.
Medication that helps in removing excess fluid can effectively relieve edema. Lifestyle changes such as reducing the amount of salt you consume through you food can also significantly help improve edema. In case edema is caused due to an underlying medical condition, the disease will require separate treatment to control edema.
Watch the YouTube video below and you will understand more about Edema: Symptoms and Treatment
Signs and symptoms of Edema
Signs and symptoms of edema may include:
- Puffiness or swelling of the tissue under the skin
- Increase in size of the abdomen
- Stretched, shiny skin
- Skin retains a dimple after it is pressed
When to seek medical attention if Edema persists
See your doctor if you have swollen, shiny or stretched skin that forms a dimple after it is pressed for many seconds.
Seek emergency medical attention immediately if you experience:
- Difficulty breathing
- Shortness of breath
- Chest pain
First Aid Treatment for Edema
Mild edema normally disappears on its own, without any treatment. You can help speed up the recovery process by elevating the affected limb above heart level to encourage fluid flow. Severe edema can be effectively treated with medication that is intended to expel excessive fluids out of the body through urine. Long-term management involves treating the underling condition that may be causing the swelling.
Home remedies for Edema First Aid Treatment
The following lifestyle changes and home remedies may help treat edema and prevent them in the long run. Make sure you consult your doctor about what home treatment measure is most suitable for you before trying them.
- Exercise. Movement of the muscles that are involves in the edema may help in pumping the excess fluid that is causing the swelling, back to the heart. Make sure you consult your doctor about what exercises may be helpful for you to reduce swelling.
- Elevate the affected limb. Whenever possible, hold or prop the affected region of the body above heart level for 30 minutes or more, three to four times a day. You should also elevate the affected limb above heart level while resting or sleeping. Pillows can be used to keep the body part elevated.
- Massage the affected region. Stroke the swollen area towards your heart. Use a firm yet painless grip to apply pressure to the swollen region so that you can move the excess fluid from this area.
- Compress. If any of your limbs is affected, you may be advised by your doctor to wear compression stocks, gloves or sleeves to maintain the pressure on the affected region and prevent fluid collection in the tissue.
Reduce consumption of salt. Your doctor will properly guide on how much salt you should consume on a daily basis.