The word edema is taken from the Greek verb ‘oidein’ which means ‘to swell’. Medically, edema describes swelling caused due to accumulation of fluids in tissues of the body. Build up of fluid can occur in any part of the body but is more commonly associated with the feet and arms. Edema can be caused due to physical injury or inflammation of the tissue. In fact, swelling is a natural response of your body towards a sudden trauma to the tissue. When a tissue is injured, the pressure on the surrounding tiny blood capillaries increases. This causes fluid to leak out of the capillaries and accumulate in that area. Sometimes, the capillaries can even get ruptured resulting in excessive drainage of fluids. There could be several situations resulting in damage of blood capillaries. Most common situations include burns, physical inactivity, surgeries, increased salt intake and certain medications.
There are different types of edema depending on the body part or the system it affects. The most common ones are:
- Peripheral edema: Swelling in the feet, ankles, hands, arms
- Pulmonary edema: Fluid accumulation in the lungs
- Cerebral edema: Affecting the brain tissue
- Lymphedema: Affecting the lymphatic system.
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