Ailments & Remedies

Ailments List

Oedema

65% of the human body is made of water. Oedema occurs when an excessive amount of fluid, mainly water, is retained in some of the body tissues and cells. This in turn causes swelling in the affected area. The swelling is usually related to the venous, veins, system or the lymphatic system, tubes that carry lymph, a fluid that helps fight infection and clear fluid.

Swelling of the skin is most common on hands, arms, feet, ankles and legs. Macular oedema affects the eyes, whilst cerebral oedema affects the brain.

The amount of water in the body is determined by the difference between fluid that is in-taken via food, drinks, other bodily processes and fluid that is discharged by urine, faeces, sweat and non-visible perspiration, for example, when breathing out.

 

Factors such as the surrounding air temperature and strenuous exercise can affect the amount of water that is taken in and out of the body.

 

In people who suffer from oedema, the excessive fluid retention can be caused by many factors. In fact, oedema is not a condition itself, but a symptom of an underlying condition. For example, it can be a sign of kidney disease or lymphoedema, a type of chronic swelling that occurs when the lymph fluid doesn't fully drain away from the cells in the tissues.

 

Oedema can also be caused by lifestyle factors, such as pregnancy, or a high content of salt in the diet.

More in detail, oedema occurs when capillaries, which are small blood vessels, are damaged and leak fluid into the surrounding body tissue. If the capillaries start leaking, the kidneys will start storing more sodium and water than normal to compensate for the lost fluid. As a result, the amount of blood circulating through your body increases  causing the capillaries to leak even more fluid and the surrounding tissue to swell.

 

Some lifestyle factors that can contribute to Oedema are:

  • decreased circulation and too little physical activity like sitting or standing still for long periods of time,
  • hot weather,
  • high altitudes,
  • burns,
  • menstruation,
  • pregnancy,
  • birth control pill,
  • some medications like high blood pressure medicine and corticosteroids,
  • too high salt intake in food.

 

More serious underlying conditions that can show oedema as a symptom are:

  • heart failure
  • kidney disease,
  • chronic lung disease,
  • thyroid disease,
  • liver disease such as cirrhosis,
  • diabetes,
  • arthritis,
  • malnutrition.

 

Oedema in the leg is one of the most common manifestations and it can be caused by blood clots, infection and inflammation, lymphoedema (see above), varicose veins, a growth or cyst.

Common symptoms of oedema may include: swelling of the skin anywhere on the body, puffiness of the ankles, face or eyes, skin that stays hollow for a few seconds after being pressed ( called pitting oedema), aching body parts, stiff joints, weight gain or loss, fuller hand and neck veins, and raised blood pressure and pulse rate.


The symptoms of oedema or their combination will depend on the underlying cause of the condition.

In most cases, treatment of oedema involves diagnosing and treating the underlying condition responsible for causing the symptom.

 

Some straightforward self-care activities aimed at reducing the build up of fluid might prove helpful. These can be: reducing the salt intake, if overweight then losing weight, taking regular exercise, raising the legs 3-4 times a day to improve circulation, wearing support stockings, massaging the affected area, and taking regular breaks to stretch the legs when travelling.



Common Remedies

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