Edema is a medical term referring to swelling caused by fluid which has built up within the body’s tissues. Left untreated, edema can become extremely uncomfortable, and can also lead to mobility difficulties, scar tissue, skin ulcers, and a heightened risk of infection. Luckily, there are a number of different edema treatments. If edema is caused by an underlying condition, then treatment usually involves addressing that underlying condition. In cases where edema is not caused by another condition, treatment may include medication, dietary changes, physical activity, massage, elevation of affected body parts, and compression therapy.
Sometimes, edema may be a symptom of a more serious underlying illness. Conditions which can cause edema include heart or kidney failure, cirrhosis of the liver, and disorders of the circulatory and lymphatic systems. When an underlying condition is present, the most effective edema treatments usually involve addressing that underlying condition.
In many cases, edema is not a symptom of some other condition, but is rather a primary condition in itself. This type of edema often occurs when the natural flow of fluids through the body becomes obstructed. Such an obstruction may be caused simply by sitting in one position for an extended period of time. It may also be caused by pregnancy, which can pressurize the circulatory system, particularly in the legs. A high sodium intake can also cause the body to retain abnormal amounts of fluid.
There are a number of edema treatments which may be successful in cases where the swelling is not caused by an underlying condition. Many edema sufferers find that taking a diuretic medication can provide relief. This type of medication increases urine output, thus eliminating excess fluids from the tissues.
For some people, making certain dietary changes proves the most effective of all edema treatments. Limiting one’s sodium intake may be all that is necessary to eliminate uncomfortable swelling. While it may seem counterintuitive, many people find that drinking water throughout each day can help limit incidences of edema.
Often, edema sufferers find relief in treatments which boost the circulation and encourage the movement of fluid out of the tissues. Physical activity such as walking or swimming may prove successful. Gentle massage or elevation of the affected area can also encourage fluid movement. Finally, edema in the legs may be treated by wearing snugly fitting stockings, which can help force fluid out of the tissues by compressing them.