Edema/Oedema: What Does Edema Mean?

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An Edema/Oedema occurs when you have an accumulation of fluid in your tissues, most commonly in your feet, legs, and ankles.

The condition can affect anyone, but it is more common in pregnant women and adults over 65 years of age. In addition to diet and exercise, treatment involves lifestyle changes.

Symptoms of Edema/Oedema include swelling in your body caused by fluid buildup. In most cases, swelling occurs in your ankles and feet.

A pitting test will be performed by your provider by pressing their finger into the swollen area. The pitting test measures how much fluid is in your tissues by measuring the speed of rebound and the depth.

Edema/Oedema: What Does Edema Mean?

Edema/Oedema: What Does Edema Mean?
Edema/Oedema: What Does Edema Mean?

Medically, edema is a swelling that occurs when fluid is trapped within your body’s tissues.

The feet, ankles, legs and hands are the most common sites of Edema/Oedema, but it can also occur in the face, hands, abdomen and other parts of the body.

How Does Edema/Oedema Affect People?

Anyone can develop edema, but pregnant women and older adults are most likely to suffer from it.

Is Edema/Oedema Common?

It is common to suffer from edema due to the many causes associated with it. Usually occurring in the feet and ankles, edema is swelling caused by trapped fluids in your body. The exact rate of occurrence of mild cases of edema cannot be determined because they disappear on their own.

Edema - What Does It Mean?
Pitting test: To determine the degree of edema in your tissues (grade), your provider will press their finger into the swollen area (pitting).

In What Ways Does Edema/Oedema Affect My Body?

As a result of edema, parts of your body will swell, which may make it difficult for you to accomplish your daily chores.

You can reduce swelling by elevating the affected area or moving around after sitting for a long period of time.

If you experience symptoms of Edema/Oedema, contact your healthcare provider. Sometimes, edema is a warning symptom of an underlying disease or condition.

Symptoms And Causes

Symptoms And Causes
Symptoms And Causes

What Are The Symptoms Of Edema/Oedema?

The swelling in your body is one of the symptoms of Edema/Oedema. The swelling of your body occurs when fluid accumulates in your tissues.

It is most common to experience swelling on your feet, ankles, and legs, but swelling can occur anywhere on your body.

Symptoms of swelling include:

  • Compared to yesterday, you have a larger area of your body.
  • There is a stretchy and shiny appearance to the skin over the swollen area.
  • Swollen legs, ankles, and feet make walking difficult.
  • Coughing or breathing difficulties may be affecting you.
  • Your swollen body part feels full or tight.
  • Affected area may feel sore or painful.

What Are The Causes Of Edema/Oedema?

After your healthcare provider diagnoses you with Edema/Oedema, the next step is to determine what caused the fluid to build up in your tissues. Edema/Oedemacan be caused by several factors, including:

Gravity: When you are sitting or standing for long periods of time, water naturally drains into your limbs, arms, and feet (dependent edema).

Weakened vein valves (venous insufficiency): Weak vein valves make it hard for your veins to push blood back up to your heart, leading to varicose veins and fluid accumulation in the legs.

Symptoms of underlying conditions: Heart failure, lung disease, liver disease, kidney disease, and thyroid disease are all associated with edema.

Medication side effects: Some drugs can cause edema, such as blood pressure medication and painkillers.

Inadequate nutrition: Lack of a balanced diet or eating a lot of salty foods high in Sodium content can cause fluid accumulation throughout the body.

During pregnancy: The uterus puts pressure on your lower trunk blood vessels, causing swelling in your legs.

Compromised immune system: Edema may occur as a result of an allergic reaction, burns, infection, trauma or clots.

Tests And Diagnosis

Tests And Diagnosis
Tests And Diagnosis

In What Ways Can Edema/Oedema Be Diagnosed?

To diagnose edema, your healthcare provider will perform a physical examination and diagnostic tests.

In parts of your body where your skin appears shiny or stretched, they will look for swelling.

How Does Edema/Oedema Grading Work?

Grading your Edema/Oedema is a way to determine the severity of the condition and how much fluid has accumulated in your tissues.

The pitting test involves your healthcare provider gently pressing their finger on an area of your body that is swollen for five to 15 seconds.

Upon releasing pressure, your skin will develop a dimple (pit). Your pit indicates that you have fluid buildup in your tissues.

During a pitting test, Edema/Oedema is measured by how soon the dimple recovers (rebounds). There are four categories on the scale:

Grade 1: Pitting of 2 millimeters (mm) with an immediate rebound.

Grade 2: Rebound time less than 15 seconds with pit depth of 3 to 4 millimeters.

Grade 3: Have a rebound time of more than 15 sec but less than 60 sec with a pit size of 5 to 6 millimeters.

Grade 4: Rebound between 2-3 minutes with an 8 mm pit.

Management And Treatment Of Edema/Oedema

Management And Treatment Of Edema/Oedema

What Are The Treatment Options For Edema/Oedema?

Edema/Oedema is treated differently depending on its cause, especially if the cause is related to an underlying health condition. For example:

The healthcare provider will recommend quitting smoking if you have lung disease that causes edema, such as emphysema or chronic bronchitis.

Managing your weight, fluid intake, and salt intake is important if you suffer from chronic heart failure with edema. You might be advised to cut back on your alcohol consumption by your healthcare provider.

Edema/Oedema can be caused by a medication, so your provider might lower the dosage or stop your medication if the swelling persists. Take your medication as prescribed by your provider.

Treatment To Reduce Swelling

There are a few precautions you can take to prevent fluid accumulation in your body besides treating its underlying cause:

  • Keep your legs elevated above your heart by placing a pillow under them when you are sitting or lying down.
  • Walking for short periods of time is better than sitting or standing for long periods.
  • Keep fluids from collecting on parts of your body by wearing support socks, stockings, or sleeves. In order to accommodate swelling caused by chronic edema, there are edema shoes available.
  • Reduce salt consumption in your diet.
  • Take medications according to your doctor’s instructions. If you have excess fluid in your body, your doctor may prescribe a diuretic (a “water pill”).

What Foods Should I Avoid With Edema/Oedema?

Excess salt in your diet can cause Edema/Oedema in some cases. You may experience swelling if you consume too much salt, since it causes your body to retain water.

Your edema diagnosis could improve if you make lifestyle changes such as reducing salt intake.

What Is The Expected Recovery Time After Treatment?

Edema may be temporary or permanent, depending on the cause of your diagnosis. A few days are usually enough time for swelling to subside.

You will experience the most swelling in the first two days, and it should start to reduce by the third day.

You may experience less swelling after receiving treatment from your healthcare provider.

Discuss your swelling with your healthcare provider if it doesn’t go away after a few days.

Outlook/Prognosis And Prevention Of Edema/Oedema

Outlook/Prognosis And Prevention Of Edema/Oedema

Is There A Way To Prevent Edema?

Edema may not be preventable if it is caused by an underlying condition like heart failure, liver disease, or kidney disease, but you can manage symptoms with your healthcare provider.

You can prevent Edema/Oedema by reducing salt intake in your diet if salt intake is the cause of edema.

Moving around more frequently can also prevent edema. Fluid can build up in your tissues when you stand or sit for a long time without moving.

Getting up or moving your body around will help reduce the likelihood of swelling if you’ve been sitting for a while.

If I Have Edema/Oedema, What Should I Expect?

Edema or swelling in your body should be treated by a healthcare provider. Without treatment, swelling can increase and cause serious health problems. Edema can stretch your skin.

The cause of edema determines whether it is a short-term or long-term condition. In order to reduce swelling and fluid buildup in your body, you can take care of any underlying causes of edema, or alter your lifestyle.

Living With Edema/Oedema: Frequently Asked Questions

1. How Do I Take Care Of Myself?

If you have Edema/Oedema, reduce swelling by:
a) You can improve your health by changing your lifestyle, such as quitting smoking or changing your diet.
b) Increasing your mobility.
c) Elevating your legs while you sit or lie down.
d) It is recommended to wear compression socks, sleeves, or stockings.
e) Protecting any swollen areas of your body from additional pressure, injury, and extreme temperatures is important. Infections are more likely to develop when skin injury occurs over swollen areas.

2. What Is The Best Time To See My Healthcare Provider?

You should contact your healthcare provider as soon as possible if you experience:
a) An area of swollen skin that is painful or discoloured.
b) A swollen area with an open sore.
c) Breathing problems.
d) One limb only swells.
e) You have difficulty walking or moving.

3. Can you tell me what the ICD-10 code is for Edema/Oedema?

Edema/Oedema is classified as R60.9 in ICD-10-CM (International Classification of Diseases, Tenth Revision, Clinical Modification). A diagnosis, symptoms, and need for treatment are described in this code for healthcare providers. In the United States, all healthcare providers use the code.

What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor?

What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor?
What Questions Should I Ask My Doctor?

This information should help you have an informed conversation with your doctor about edema, so that you can take the best decisions for your health.

It’s also important to remember that each individual situation is unique, your questions and recommendations may vary.

Ultimately, it is important to discuss any concerns you have with your doctor in order to make sure that the best treatment plan is established for you.

  1. What is the cause of my edema?
  2. Are there any specific lifestyle changes that I should make to help with my edema?
  3. Are any medications or treatments available to reduce or eliminate my edema symptoms?
  4. How often should I see my doctor for follow-up visits?
  5. What are the risks associated with my edema?
  6. Are there any support groups or resources available to help me manage my condition?
  7. Is there anything else I require to know about edema and its treatments?
  8. Are there any long-term side effects of the treatment that I should be aware of?
  9. How will you monitor my progress and evaluate the effectiveness of my treatment?
  10. What is your experience treating patients with edema?
  11. Is it necessary to reduce my salt intake?
  12. Is it necessary to wear compression socks to reduce ankle swelling?

Your physician/health provider will be able to advise you better on how often you should come back for follow-up visits and when adjustments or further testing may be necessary.


People with edema experience varying degrees of severity depending on the cause of their condition.

Pregnant women usually experience swelling as their due date approaches. If you have a mild case of edema, it usually subsides on its own, and if you have a severe case, medication and treatment are available.

You should contact your healthcare provider if you notice unexpected swelling in a part of your body when you are not pregnant

. Early diagnosis and treatment of edema can improve the outcome if it is caused by an underlying health condition.

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