Edema is swelling caused by fluid trapped in the body’s tissues. It happens most often in the extremities.


Edema occurs when the capillaries leak fluid as a result of increased pressure in the capillaries. When the capillaries leak, the kidneys begin to retain more fluid to compensate for the lost blood volume thus causing the capillaries to leak more. Mild cases of edema may result from sitting or standing in one position for too long, excessive salt intake, premenstrual syndrome, and pregnancy. Edema can also be a side effect of medications.


Edema may be a sign of a more serious medical condition such as congestive heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, kidney disease, chronic venous insufficiency, and inadequate lymphatic drainage.

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