Dependent Edema - Causes, Symptoms, Treatment

Dependent Edema

Edema is a medical term that refers to swelling. Most body parts swell as a result of inflammation or injury. The whole body can be affected or just a small area. Edema usually occurs once the minor blood vessels start leaking and discharge fluids to the nearby tissues. This excess fluid will build up and make the tissue to swell. Dependent edema refers to abnormal fluid accumulation in dependent body parts that are usually influenced by gravitational force. In general, dependent edema is common in lower parts of the body, like the ankles and legs in the ambulatory patients as well as the saceral section and the posterior area of the face and thigh for recumbent patients.


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Causes of dependent Edema

Such things like skin infections, twisted ankles and bee stings can lead to edema. Edema can also result from other disorders or the imbalance of certain substances in the blood. Among the other causes of dependent edema include:

Congestive heart failure: This is the most probable cause of dependent edema. In the ambulatory patients, this swelling is normally seen in the ankle and lower legs area. The fluids usually accumulate in the lower body parts because of gravity. In case the patient lies on bed for lengthy hours, he or she can have swelling on the posterior thigh area or the lower back. The swelling will even spread to the face. In this sort of heart failure, heart muscles will be very weak and will be incapable of pumping sufficient amounts of blood.

Kidney damage: When a person has damaged kidneys, they will suffer from edema. Normally, the kidneys play the role of removing all the unwanted and waste fluids from a body. Once these kidneys are destroyed, there will be a lot of accumulation of unwanted fluids and waste in varied body parts. The edema associated with kidney conditions usually happens over the eyelids first and mostly when the patient is awake. Diabetes and high blood pressure are the basic chronic disorders that are mostly linked to kidney failure.

Drugs and medicines: Particular medications are renowned for producing edema. Some of them include NSAIDs, extensive usage of steroids and calcium antagonist drugs.

Venous insufficiency: This is a very common problem, whereby the blood is incapable of reaching the heart through the peripheral veins in the body. This is normally because of veins with weak valves. The peripheral section includes the feet, hands, ankles and legs. The resultant effect is that blood will stagnate and leak to the nearby tissues creating swelling in that area. A good example is edema occurring in the lower legs because of the varicose veins.

Sitting or standing for lengthy hours can lead to the accumulation of fluids in the ankles, feet and legs.

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Liver disorders: Serious liver conditions like cirrhosis can lead to fluid retention. Cirrhosis can also cause the levels of albumin to be very low as well as pother blood proteins. These fluids will leak to the abdomen and lead to leg edema.

Pregnancy: There is an occurrence of slight edema in the course of pregnancy. However, grave pregnancy complications such as preeclampsia and deep vein thrombosis can also lead to edema.


Symptoms of dependent edema

There are certain accompanying signs that accompany this disease as a result of dependent edema. Nonetheless, few local symptoms and signs that occur on the skin surface in the event of dependent edema include:

  • Pitting experienced in the edema region: Once hard pressure is applied on the swollen place, there will appear a swollen depression referred to as pitting edema.
  • The skin in the swollen area will become shiny and stretched
  • Itching can also be experienced in the swollen region
  • When the skin is parched because of excessive fluid collection in the dependent area, usually legs, there can be watery discharges observed in some instances.
  • The individuals suffering from congestive heart failure will also experience breathlessness after some slight exertion.
  • In the event of kidney disorders, there will be low output of urine. Some other symptoms will include itching and breathing problems on the swollen skin surface.


Dependent edema – treatment procedures

The dependent edema will be resolved as soon as the disease causing it is healed. Nonetheless, the best method of reducing dependent edema is keeping the swollen area elevated or raised. This will help the fluid move back to the heart area. The fluid will later on be expelled through urination out of the body. If the individual suffers swelling in the ankles and legs, standing for lengthy periods in one place must be avoided at all costs.

Tight compression stockings worn by the patient will hinder fluid collection in lower limbs, when the edema is in the ankles and legs. All the patients suffering from edema must restrain from consuming too much salt in their meals. This helps reduce edema.

Medicines like diuretics are also very vital in reducing edema. They must however be used and prescribed by a medical practitioner. If the edema is caused by heart problems, medicines that hasten heart pumping will aid in bringing down swelling.

When the root cause is kidney failure, the individual can need dialysis procedures to aid in purifying blood and therefore getting rid of extra body fluids and wastes that lead to edema.

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