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Weeping Edema

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Weeping Edema or commonly called “swelling” is defined as the abnormal accumulation of fluid in the tissues. This is often brought about by a serious medical condition and is a alarming and life threatening.


Types

There are 4 types of edema:

  • Pulmonary edema is the type where fluid leaks to the air spaces of alveoli which is found in lungs.
  • Peripheral edema is a most common type of edema as this is noticeably visible in arms and legs or distal parts of the body.
  • Pleural edema is when excess fluids are contained in abdominal area, pleural space or peritoneal cavities inside the body.
  • Anasarca is a condition where edema, from the body is widespread and generalized. Fluid accumulation is present for both interstitial tissues and inside cavities of the body such as the above mentioned.

There are still different types of edema in addition to the ones mentioned above but are less common.

Although weeping edema is serious, it is manageable and treatment methods are less complicated which will then be discussed in the following topics.

Symptoms

Edema has a couple of visible symptoms that are easily distinguished. However, these are dependent on causative factors, like location of the affected area and the amount of swelling. Most of the time, affected area would look shiny, swollen and puffy. Early signs include transparent or yellowish fluid coming out in the affected areas. But there are also instances where these aren’t obvious.

Weight gain

Weight gain is the most common sign of edema as this is a result of fluid build-up in the body.

Swollen tongue

If the cause of edema are allergens such as food or medications, affected areas would be throat and the tongue, although swollen tongue isn’t visible, one can detect its presence as patient would be having a difficult time breathing and they may appear cyanotic too. When this happens, it can be very dangerous as this may cause obstruction in the breathing process.

Discomfort in walking

If Edema is affecting legs, then this can cause discomfort in walking as added weight is felt in both legs. Additionally, swelling in palm of the feet or toes can be painful upon walking. These are common for patients suffering from kidney disorders and cardiac problems.

Breathing problem

When the condition affects the lungs, shortness of breath will be appreciated on the patient, skin pallor and sometimes cough can be observed as well. Laboratory tests will also confirm decreased oxygen levels in the blood.

Gastrointestinal tract

For edema affecting the gastric area, abdominal swelling and increase in abdominal girth will be noticeable. This is common when patient is suffering from bleeding ulcers and liver cirrhosis.

Causes

There can be a lot of causes that contribute to edema, however, swelling is just a symptom of an underlying serious condition.

Below are one of the few causative factors of edema:

Low Albumin levels

This contributes to edema because albumin acts like a sponge in the blood. When these blood proteins are low, fluids are not contained in the blood vessels thus swelling occurs.

Allergic reactions

when allergens attack the body, blood vessels release fluid to the affected areas as a defense mechanism to the foreign bodies.

Congestive Heart Failure

If heart pumps blood insufficiently, back flow occurs thus fluid accumulates in the distal areas such as the legs because the heart is no longer able to pump it back to the chest. This eventually leads to leg edema. However, when the opposite occurs and there is too much pumping, blood is not equally distributed in the distal areas thus they are contained in the chest eventually causing pulmonary edema or swelling of the lungs.

Cirrhosis

severe liver condition causes fluid retention, this is due to decreased albumin levels in the blood. They keep the blood from leaking outside the blood vessels. However, when there is cirrhosis, fluid leaks to the abdomen causing abdominal swelling.

Nephrotic disorder

This is a kidney disorder; this happens when damage to the glomeruli (tiny vessels that filter protein and blood waste products) occurs. Thus protein is not filtered at all and then leaks into the urine often called “proteinuria”. Fluid then accumulates in the tissues.

Pregnancy

Pregnancy can cause edema in the legs especially when expectant mothers suffer from eclampsia, gestational diabetes and sometimes deep vein thrombosis which can be very life threatening to both mother and fetus.

Treatment

There are various medical approaches to treat weeping edema but most of the time treating the causative factor is the best way to address the issue.

Medication

Medications such as corticosteroids and NSAIDS treat edema in a way that it reduces the swelling and inflammation however it doesn’t treat the underlying condition. Long term management involves treating the disorder causing edema.

Antihistamines

For edema caused by allergic reactions, antihistamines would treat the swelling. If leg edema is caused by a clot in the leg which is common in deep vein thrombosis, blood thinners will fix the problem.

Diuretics

For instances where swelling is caused by congestive heart failure or kidney problem, Diuretics are best recommended by physicians. However clinical approach will depend on the management of the doctor.

Remedies

Natural remedies can also be an effective approach to treat the disorder. This may include:

Exercise

frequent and careful movements in the areas affected by edema may assist the fluid to be moved back to the heart however it is best to consult the physician before doing it so they can recommend the best exercise for the patient.

Elevation of the affected area

Elevation of affected area may reduce swelling particularly for leg edema as elevating the leg can decrease pressure in between feet and the floor.

Massage

Slow and soft massage on the affected area towards the heart may also reduce swelling. Use of compression stockings is recommended too because it lessens pressure on the affected area and prevent fluid accumulation in the tissue.

Emollients

Use of emollients such as lotions and moisturizers protect the affected area from peeling and cracking that may lead further insult to the injured part.

Sodium intake

incorporation of zero to less sodium intake in daily diet is the best method to prevent and treat edema as salt contributes to fluid retention and increases the risk of worsening the condition.

Weeping Edema Pictures

Take a look at these pictures of weeping edema to find out how it looks like:

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