While it’s fairly common to suffer from swelling of feet while wearing high heels for long periods of time, swelling can also be due to a medical condition called edema.  Edema is the result of excessive fluid accumulation within the tissues of the body, which in turn, shows up as an abnormal swelling. The condition can occur in any part of the body but it is most commonly observed in the lower extremities, particularly the legs, ankles and feet.

While edema is often experienced as little more than annoying discomfort, it can be symptomatic of a more serious underlying condition. Managing edema doesn’t have to be a harrowing experience. Having accurate information and knowing what to do, will enable you to stay on top of it at all times. Learn more about edema, what causes it, and how you can manage it here:

Firstly, how do I know if I have edema?

The easiest way to identify edema is to look for swelling or puffiness in the body. This swelling can take place anywhere but is most commonly observed in the legs. The abdomen may increase in size or feel bloated and the skin may look stretched, shiny, or redder than usual. The presence of edema can also be indicated by skin that retains dimples or pits after being pressed for a few seconds.

Depending on its location, edema can also show up as aches, stiffness of the joints, an increase in blood pressure, nausea, headaches, confusion, lethargy as well as visual abnormalities.

How does one get edema?

Edema can be caused by a number of different factors— some lifestyle-related and some hormonal, while some can simply be caused by other existing medical conditions. Some of the most common reasons for edema are:

  • Standing or sitting for long periods of time
  • Consumption of too much salt in your food or drink
  • Low levels of protein in your body
  • Obesity
  • Venous Insufficiency
  • Hormonal changes brought on by the menstrual cycle or menopause
  • Pregnancy
  • Medical conditions that affect your lungs, kidneys or heart
  • Injuries in the form of strains or sprains.
  • Infections or inflammation
  • Allergic reactions
  • Blood clots
  • Certain types of medications, including the ones prescribed for blood pressure, contraception, diabetes, and depression

When should I be consulting a doctor?

It is common for some people to experience some mild swelling after a long flight or during a hot day when the body becomes less efficient at removing fluids.  More frequently, edema can be experienced during the menstrual cycle or as a result of poor dietary habits as well as, having to work on your feet for long periods of time.

A swelling that resolves within a few days and doesn’t get progressively worse is normally not a cause for concern. However, do visit your physician or dermatologist for any worrisome discomfort.

What are my treatment options?

Generally, medical professionals will resort to corrective measures such as dietary amendments, lifestyle recommendations and/or drug interventions such as diuretics for treatment. Additionally, there are several non-surgical and non-invasive alternatives using advanced techniques and technologies for the effective management of edema:

  • The edema reversal treatment targets and smoothens away edematous cellulite which forms in the thighs and lower legs as a result of poor circulation and fluid retention.
  • Pressure therapy enhances blood and lymphatic circulation for not just reducing edema but also eliminating fat, cellulite and toxic wastes from the body enhancing your overall state of health and wellbeing.
  • Skin tightening and rejuvenation treatments to firm, tighten, and tone skin that’s loose or sagging because of edema and to restore the appearance of skin compromised by poor circulation.

Your dermatologist will be able to assist you in determining the right treatment methodology or a mix of different treatment options for your concerns.

Are there any lifestyle changes I can adopt to prevent edema?

Absolutely. There are several things you can do to prevent or manage your existing edema better:

  • Use salt sparingly and ensure you have nutritious, well-balanced meals.
  • Maintain a healthy weight. Ensuring you are at the optimum weight at any period in your life facilitates health and vitality.
  • Avoid standing or sitting for long periods of time. Take walks or engage in gentle exercise to boost your circulation. Also, keep your feet elevated (above the level of your heart) as often as possible if you are currently grappling with fluid retention.
  • Avoid extreme temperatures.
  • Wear supportive footwear and compression stockings if you work long hours on your feet.

Edema, like any other medical condition, can be managed effectively or can even be prevented if you take adequate precautions. Consult a dermatologist for advice on targeted solutions that will help you effectively navigate this concern

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