If you’re experiencing swelling in your legs and ankles, you could have a condition known as edema. Swelling from edema ranges from mild to severe, and it often leads to trouble walking. Edema may even make it difficult to breathe. Some patients report their symptoms are so severe that they limit or stop their regular day-to-day activities.
At MD Vein & Skin Specialists, dermatologist and phlebologist Clement Banda, MD, RPhS, can search for the cause of your edema and get adverse symptoms under control. If you’ve been experiencing any uncomfortable swelling, contact us as soon as possible for an evaluation.
What is edema?
Edema is a health condition in which your legs swell and it might also affect your feet and ankles. This condition has a range of potential causes, including the leaking of fluids from your veins. Poor circulation brought on by varicose veins or similar conditions may lead to edema. The result of this buildup of fluids is pain and discomfort.
You may experience edema for many reasons, including:
- Premenstrual symptoms
- High sodium intake
- Kidney disease
- Congestive heart failure
- Sitting or standing for long periods
- Veins that are weak or damaged
- Varicose veins
- Chronic venous insufficiency
- Liver, kidney, and thyroid diseases
- Certain medications for blood pressure or pain management
- An allergic reaction
- Poor nutrition
- A diet with high salt intake
Because there are so many reasons that extra fluid builds up in the tissues of your body, you should see a specialist like Dr. Banda, who can evaluate the health of your veins.
Using color duplex ultrasound technology, Dr. Banda determines if a venous issue is causing your edema. If deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is the reason for edema in your legs or other areas, you need special treatment to prevent a stroke or heart attack.
What are the symptoms of edema?
If you have swelling in your legs, ankles, or feet but haven’t suffered an injury, you may have edema. Here are some signs that may indicate edema:
- Swelling in your legs, ankles, or feet
- Puffiness in your face and hands
- Trouble walking due to swelling
- Difficult breathing
- Swollen skin that’s stretched out and shiny
- Dimpling when you push on the swollen area with your finger
Treatment options for edema
After determining the root cause of the edema, Dr. Banda may recommend noninvasive treatment options, such as lifestyle changes, before more invasive treatments.
Each case is different, so edema can be a lifelong or temporary problem. Treating edema begins with treating the underlying condition that is causing it. If left untreated, your skin may continue to stretch, causing discomfort and other health problems. If you’re pregnant or have trouble breathing, call us immediately.
Dr. Banda can treat circulation issues in your veins that are triggering edema. He may develop a comprehensive treatment plan meant to improve the flow of fluids in areas affected by swelling. Supportive hosiery and keeping your legs elevated may improve your condition.
But if these options don’t improve your condition, Dr. Banda might suggest minimally invasive treatments, such as:
- Endovenous thermal ablation, a laser therapy that shrinks and destroys veins
- Ambulatory phlebectomy, removal of the affected vein through a small incision
- Ultrasound-guided foam sclerotherapy, which is injection of a special foaming solution to destroy the vein
If edema is related to medication, stopping that medication can resolve the swelling, but check with the prescribing doctor first.
If you’re suffering from edema, don’t wait to call our office, or you can book an appointment using our online scheduling tool.