Edema in the Lower Legs

Edema in the Lower Legs – Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and More

More than 20% of the adult population in the United States struggles with peripheral edema, also known as edema in lower legs. This is caused by various reasons, from a blocked vein to congestive heart failure. It can also be from less serious issues such as sitting or standing too long, so always have a medical professional check it out.

Edema in the legs can look intimidating, but there are plenty of options for those who want to get rid of the swelling.

To learn more about edema of the legs and what you can do about it, keep reading.

Edema in the Lower Legs

Symptoms of Edema in Lower Legs

Edema is a medical term that means swelling. So, increased swelling of the legs or ankles is a warning sign you should never ignore.

You may notice some puffiness of the tissue under the skin of your legs. In advanced cases, this puffiness may cause stretched, shiny skin.

If you have a lot of fluid building up in your legs, you may notice pitting upon pressing into your skin. Pitting refers to when skin stays dimpled after pressing into it. It will appear like the shape of your finger is indented into the skin.

The length of time that it takes for this pitting to go away will tell you how bad the fluid build-up is.

Causes of Edema in Lower Legs

There are plenty of causes or conditions that may lead to fluid buildup in the lower legs. Here are some of the most common signs of mild edema:

  • Being sedentary for too long
  • Eating too much salty food
  • Premenstrual Dysphoric Disorder (PMDD)
  • Being pregnant

In addition to these conditions, edema can form as a side effect of some medications. Check to see if you have any of the following medications:

  • High blood pressure medications
  • NSAIDs (nonsteroidal antiinflammatory drugs)
  • Steroids
  • Estrogen
  • Some diabetes medications, such as thiazolidinediones

Lastly, we have to consider the conditions that can lead to life-threatening edema. If you have any of the following conditions, you need to watch for swelling in the legs every single day:

  • Congestive heart failure (CHF)
  • Cirrhosis
  • Kidney disease or any kind of kidney damage
  • Weakness in and damage to the veins in the legs
  • Inadequate lymphatic drainage
  • Severe protein deficiency

Talk to your physician if you have any of these conditions. They can help you learn more about and track your edema in lower legs.

Lower Leg Edema in Elderly People

Lower leg edema in elderly individuals is common because our veins grow weak as we age. Therefore, fluid can build up at the bottom of our legs in our veins.

To prevent swelling in the legs, elderly individuals can wear compression socks.

Edema of the Legs Treatment

Mild edema should go away on its own. However, more severe cases may require taking diuretics or similar medications to help get rid of the liquid.

Long-term management may include wearing compression socks and raising your legs.

For your specific case, ask your doctor what you should do.

Learning More About Your Health

If you’re worried about having edema in lower legs, you should contact a health professional right away. If the swelling doesn’t begin to go down, you could have a greater medical problem going on.

To learn more about your health, check out the rest of our blog.

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