When you have swollen, puffy feet or ankles, it may be a sign of a long day on your feet, an injury to that part of your body, or a response to a disease or condition affecting you. No matter what the source, this fluid retention is called edema.
Even if the underlying reasons for edema can’t be cured or prevented, fluid retention is often treatable with changes to your diet and lifestyle or with medical care from an edema expert. In Columbia, Maryland, MD Vein and Skin Specialists are the obvious choice.
Led by Dr. Clement Banda, our practice provides professional care for many conditions originating from vein issues, including edema.
Signs of edema
While edema can affect virtually any tissue, anywhere in your body, it’s most common at the peripheries. These are at the ends of your limbs, wrists, hands, lower legs, ankles, and feet, places where blood can collect.
You can recognize edema from the swollen appearance of the skin at the affected location. The skin here may appear stretched, without lines or creases, and it may also look shiny. Pressing on the swollen area creates a dimple that remains after releasing the pressure.
What causes edema?
The direct reason for edema is the leaking of fluid capillaries in the area of swelling. Trapped in the surrounding tissue, this fluid presses against the skin, creating the characteristic puffy appearance.
There are, however, many reasons why this leakage occurs. Mild cases of edema can result from a range of conditions from sitting or standing in one position for an extended period, to eating heavily salted foods. Women often experience edema as part of their menstrual cycles or during pregnancies.
There are medications that cause edema as a side effect. These include:
- Estrogen supplements
- Hypertension medications
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
- Steroid medications
- Thiazolidinedione diabetes medications
Some medical conditions cause edema as a side effect. Congestive heart failure reduces the efficiency with which blood moves through your body. This can cause edema throughout, including in your lungs, a dangerous condition called pulmonary edema.
Damage or disease to the liver or kidneys can also cause edema, affecting the abdominal cavity, eyes, or legs. Chronic venous insufficiency results when valves inside veins begin to fail, allowing blood to pool, leading to edema.
The lymphatic system drains the fluid that causes edema, so when this system becomes damaged, such as through cancer treatment, edema may result due to the slow performance.
Chronic protein deficiency also causes edema. This can result from long-term dietary issues or from a kidney problem called nephrotic syndrome.
No matter what the reason for your edema, contact MD Vein and Skin Specialists to stay on top of your condition. You can reach the office by phone or through the online booking link on this page. Knowing the reasons for your case of edema could help you to successfully manage or eliminate the swelling. Make an appointment today.