Edema or swelling occurs when excess fluid is trapped in the body tissues. The condition usually affects the skin, particularly the ankles, arms, feet and legs. However, it may also affect the brain, lungs, eyes, muscles, and bowel.
Edema typically occurs in older adults and pregnant women but anyone can develop the condition. There are various types and causes of edema. For example – Pedal edema causes puffiness or swelling in the feet while pulmonary edema affects the lungs.
Edema Caused by Kidney Problems
Most often, a skin infection or a twisted ankle causes edema in the feet or any part of the body. However, on some occasions, damage to the kidneys can lead to all the swelling.
A person diagnosed with kidney disease may be unable to remove enough sodium and fluid from the blood. This puts pressure on the blood vessels, causing some of the fluid to leak out. This may result in swelling in the legs and around the eyes.
Damage to the glomeruli – a network of tiny blood vessels that drain excess fluids and wastes from the blood – can lead to nephrotic syndrome, which is characterized by low traces of albumin protein in the blood. This can cause edema.
How to Identify the Condition
Symptoms of edema depend on the extent of swelling and the site of occurrence. You may experience the following signs –
Shiny or stretchy skin
Puffiness or swelling of the tissues beneath the skin, specifically in the arms and legs
Skin retaining pits or a dimple after being pressed for several seconds
An enlarged abdomen
Stiff joints and aching body parts
Make an appointment with your doctor if you notice the above signs. In addition to these, you should also watch out for symptoms like shortness of breath and chest pain – these could be an indication of pulmonary edema, which requires immediate treatment.
To treat edema, you will first need to treat its underlying cause. The ultimate goal is to eliminate the excess fluid that has built up in the surrounding body tissues. For kidney-related edema, the most common treatment is diuretics. It causes your kidneys to release excess fluid from the body, which eases fluid volume in your body.