Edema Treatment in Homewood, AL
What Is Edema?
Edema, the medical term for swelling, occurs when fluid becomes trapped in your body's tissues. Peripheral edema, in which swelling occurs in the feet, legs or hands, occurs most frequently; however, there are as many types of edema as there are body parts, and edema can be isolated to a particular area or affect a significant portion of the body. Because edema can be a symptom of a life-threatening disease like cirrhosis of the liver, congestive heart failure, kidney disease or emphysema, you should always consult a healthcare provider to identify the source of the edema. Schedule a consultation with a practitioner in Homewood who specializes in edema treatment. Call (334) 781-7319 or contact Alabama Functional Medicine online.
Types of Edema
There are several different types of edema, and typology is based on where the edema occurs. For example, when edema occurs in the legs, together with swollen feet, it is referred to as lower extremity edema. Other types of edema include:
- Abdominal Edema: Swelling in your abdomen
- Pulmonary Edema: Swelling in your lungs
- Sacral Edema: Swelling in your back
- Cerebral Edema: Swelling in your brain
- Peripheral Edema: Swelling in your arms, legs, hands, and feet
- Whole-Body Edema: Swelling throughout your body
The etiology of edema can be quite complex. Edema can, for example, occur as:
- A mild water retention problem that resolves itself (e.g., menstrual bloating)
- An adverse reaction or allergic reaction to a food, medication, substance or insect sting
- A chronic condition like lymphedema following cancer treatment
- A symptom of a serious disease that requires treatment, like blood clots, venous insufficiency, kidney disease, or congestive heart failure which often first manifests with peripheral and abdominal edema
- A sign of severe inflammation
- A reaction to severe burns or trauma
- A symptom of poor nutrition
- A reaction to too much salt from your diet
- A part of being pregnant as the uterus exerts pressure on the blood vessels in the lower trunk and legs
Edema can also occur when you have been sitting or standing for too long, simply as a result of gravity, as water will naturally gravitate down to your legs and feet.
Edema Symptoms & Diagnosis
How do you know if you have edema? The tell-tale symptom is swelling, but there are other signs that signify edema which depend on the location and severity of the edema. These additional edema symptoms include:
- A stretched and shiny look to the skin of the swollen area
- Indention or dimple from pressing your finger into the swollen area (pitting edema)
- Difficulty walking and difficulty bending your arms and legs (in the case of peripheral edema and edema of the lower extremities)
- Difficulty breathing or a gurgling cough (in the case of pulmonary edema)
To determine whether you have edema or swelling from an injury or other cause, your healthcare provider will conduct a thorough physical examination, take a full medical history and order certain tests to diagnose the source of your swelling or the underlying cause of your edema.
Treatment for Edema
Determining how to treat edema will be based on what is causing your edema. For example, if a medication reaction or allergy is causing edema, treatment is simple: identify the offending medication or substance and avoid it. Once your healthcare provider obtains a detailed medical history and understands the nature of your condition and your symptoms, a course of treatment will become clear and certain medications and treatments—as well as diet and lifestyle changes—will likely be recommended.
If a serious disease condition is triggering your fluid retention and swelling, diagnosing and treating the disease will usually take care of the edema symptoms. Maintaining a healthy weight, controlling blood pressure, and limiting salt intake and alcohol are also essential in minimizing edema.
Sometimes diseases cannot be treated, and the condition must be controlled rather than cured, as in the case of late stage cancers. In these instances, your healthcare provider may manually remove fluid through an abdominal tap or other drainage or aspiration techniques.
Many other medical approaches focus on how to reduce edema swelling without dramatic measures. These traditional approaches include:
- Taking diuretics or “water pills”
- Elevating swollen legs and feet (keeping your legs above heart level)
- Avoiding long periods of sitting and standing
- Wearing support stockings to keep fluids from collecting in legs and ankles
- Limiting salt and fluid intake
Because injury or damage to the stretched, shiny skin over swollen areas is more likely to become infected and tends to heal slowly, it is critical that you protect swollen areas from extreme temperatures, injury or even excess pressure. You should contact your healthcare provider immediately if you develop an open sore, experience pain, heat or redness with edema, or shortness of breath. Swelling in a single limb may announce the presence of a blood clot and should never be ignored.
If you are suffering from the physical effects and symptoms that can be caused by edema, it is essential that you seek the guidance of an experienced, professional healthcare provider. Request more information today to learn more about edema causes, symptoms and treatment options. Call (334) 781-7319 or contact Alabama Functional Medicine online.
Alabama Functional Medicine
Address7040 Sydney Curve
Montgomery, AL 36117
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