You may notice swelling occasionally in your feet or hands, sometimes due to hot weather or after eating a salty meal. However, medical problems like kidney disease also cause swelling, a dangerous side effect.
Edema is a condition that occurs with various medical problems and is essentially trapped fluid in the body's tissues. While it may not seem like an immediate danger, untreated edema can lead to serious health problems.
If you're in Washington, DC, or Capitol Heights, Maryland, the team at Metro Renal Associates helps you navigate treatment for kidney disease. Leading our team are three experienced nephrologists who offer quick and effective treatment for edema that pops up in your body.
What is edema?
Edema is a problem where fluid becomes trapped in the body's tissues. It can happen due to life changes like pregnancy or as the result of taking certain medications.
Usually, edema affects the skin, resulting in swelling and puffiness around the arms, legs, hands, and feet. However, in severe cases, it can also affect the lungs, brain, eyes, and bowels.
Typically edema only affects adults, although it can happen in children with medical problems. Pregnant women and adults over 65 are more prone to edema.
Edema may come on suddenly and cause serious health concerns or develop over time. Either way, it’s important to seek treatment for edema.
Signs and symptoms of edema
One of the major signs of edema is swelling or puffiness in your arms and legs. However, the symptoms span beyond that.
The cause of edema is a good indicator of what symptoms you experience. Some of the common signs and symptoms related to edema include the following:
- Aching in the body
- Stiff joints
- Shiny skin
- Puffiness in the face
- Weight gain
- Decreased urination
- Pronounced neck and hand veins
Edema in the face and brain may lead to visual disturbances or anomalies. You mustn't let the symptoms of edema go unnoticed. Treatment is necessary to prevent the condition from causing further damage.
Is edema dangerous?
Edema is a serious side effect of many medical conditions, including kidney disease. If you notice signs or symptoms of edema, speak to our doctors as untreated edema is dangerous and can lead to serious health problems.
Some of the consequences of untreated edema include the following:
- Pain around the edema
- Itchy, stretched-out skin
- Poor circulation to the extremities
- Trouble walking
- Open sores
- Decreased elasticity in major vessels
The most severe complications of untreated edema include shortness of breath and chest pain. Shortness of breath and chest pain are signs of pulmonary edema caused by fluid in the lungs, which can be life-threatening. Cerebral edema, fluid in the brain, can lead to a change in behavior or consciousness.
Getting treatment early on for edema is crucial to your overall health and well-being. As soon as you notice swelling in your extremities or abdomen, contact our team so we can evaluate the cause and get you the proper treatment.
Treatment depends on the root cause of the edema and often includes lifestyle changes and medications. For example, a diet high in salt can cause fluid retention, so reducing salt intake can help.
If edema results from kidney disease, we prescribe diuretics, which remove extra fluid from the body through urination.
If you're living with new-onset edema, don't hesitate to call Metro Renal Associates today to schedule an appointment or message the team using our convenient online tool.