Edema: Types, Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
The most promising Natural treatments for Edema that may give a way for Edema cure
Edema is the swelling in different body parts that is caused due to accumulation of fluid. It commonly occurs in feet, ankles, and legs. It can also occur in the brain, eyes, face, and hands. Pregnant women and older people are more prone to get edema but it can occur to anyone.
Edema is not a disease. It is only a symptom but it is a matter of concern if it lasts for a longer period. Chronic edema can indicate an underlying health problem.
Types of edema
There are different types of edema. A few different types are given here:
- Peripheral edema: It is the most common type. It mostly affects the hands, arms, legs, and feet. There are swelling, puffiness, and difficulty in moving the affected part of the body.
- Pulmonary edema: In this type, excess fluid collects in the lungs. Breathing becomes difficult. This can also result in congestive heart failure. It is a life-threatening condition as it can cause respiratory failure and death.
- Cerebral edema: It affects the brain. It can occur due to different reasons. Symptoms include neck pain, headache, partial or whole vision loss, and change in consciousness, nausea, vomiting, and dizziness.
- Macular edema: It is a serious condition and occurs mostly in people with diabetes. Swelling occurs in the macula which is a part of the eye that enables detailed central vision.
Edema can occur in other parts of the body as well but the above types are common. It is important to consult with a doctor to get the right diagnosis and treatment.
Causes of Edema
Some of the important factors that can cause edema are:
- When a person keeps sitting or standing for long periods
- Certain over the counter medications can produce edema as a side effect
- Infection or any injury to a blood vessel or varicose veins
- Insect bites
- Hormonal changes that occur during pregnancy and menstruation
- Hypertension or high blood pressure
- Eating excessive salty foods
- Head injury or injury to the brain
- Thyroid disorders
- A blood clot in the leg can also impair the flow of blood causing swelling and discomfort in the leg.
- Venous insufficiency is a condition when the veins are not able to pump blood properly. This causes blood to accumulate in the legs.
- A condition called pericarditis referring to the inflammation of the membrane around the heart can also cause breathing problems and swelling in the legs and ankles.
- Lymphedema is a condition that causes blockage in the lymphatic system. This causes swelling of tissues resulting in swelling of the arms and legs.
- Cirrhosis of the liver caused due to alcohol abuse or infection can cause high blood pressure and poor circulation in the feet, legs, and ankles.
Signs and Symptoms
Signs and symptoms may vary from individual to individual. Important signs and symptoms include the following:
- There is swelling of limbs along with pain, redness, and heat
- The skin under the eyes become puffy
- Shortness of breath, and difficulty in breathing
- Fatigue, muscle aches, and pains
- Lack of concentration
Treatment options for Edema
Various treatment options are available for reducing edema. These are a temporary measure and only provide temporary relief.
In the conventional system, the physician’s advice to use compression bandages and pressure sleeves tightened over swollen regions. Other options include reducing salt in the diet, resting with legs elevated above the heart level, taking diuretics and massage. Diuretics reduce fluid level but also reduce important vitamins and minerals that can result in low bone density.
In some cases, fluid is removed surgically to reduce swelling and for repairing the damaged veins.
Complementary and alternative therapies
Several studies on herbal ingredients have shown their efficacy in getting rid of edema naturally.
Herbs such as Withania somnifera, piper longum, Punarnava are traditionally believed to show efficacy in the natural treatment of edema when used in a blend.
Homeopathic remedies such as Natrum Mur, Natrum Sulph, Nitric acid, Hepar sulph, are effectively used to get relief from edema.
People suffering from edema can also take the following tips to get relief from edema:
- Reduce salt intake as it helps in reducing fluid retention in the legs.
- Eat foods containing natural diuretics such as parsley, grapes, pineapple, pumpkin, onion, etc.
- Eat foods rich in antioxidants such as blueberries, tomatoes, bell peppers, etc.
- Eat foods rich in Vitamin B such as dark green leafy vegetables, whole grains, etc.
- Avoid alcohol and tobacco smoking
- Eat vitamin C rich foods such as oranges, lemon, etc.
You can also follow the below-given tips to reduce swelling in the legs, feet, and ankles.
- Elevate legs while lying down. The legs should be raised above the heart level. You can keep a pillow under the legs to feel comfortable.
- Keep on stretching and moving your legs
- Do not wear garters or restrictive clothing around the thighs
- Work on your body weight and try to maintain a healthy body weight by doing regular exercise.
- Stand up or move around once every hour especially if you are sitting or standing for long periods.
Home remedies for Edema
People suffering from edema can also try home remedies to get relief.
- Put Epsom salt in water and soak your feet in water for 15-20 minutes. Epsom salt helps in reducing swelling and inflammation.
- Drink eight to ten glasses of water every day
- Eat magnesium-rich food because it is believed that people suffering from edema may have a magnesium deficiency. You can include foods such as almonds, cashews, spinach, broccoli, avocados, etc.
- Adding potassium-rich foods in the diet also helps in reducing swelling. A low potassium level can cause high blood pressure and water retention. You can add foods such as sweet potatoes, white beans, salmon, bananas, and chicken in your diet.
Dr Ritu Sandhu, B.H.M.S., Homeopath, and NASH member graduated From Chandigarh Homeopathic Medical College and Hospital, Chandigarh, INDIA is a licensed Homeopathy practitioner since the last seventeen years. She writes on health-related topics to share her cumulative experience. Her mission is to uphold the time-honored values of compassion and humanity when caring for patients.