Types, Signs and Treatment of Edema


Edema is the extravasations and piling of interstitial fluid in muscles. It is gravitational and develops in the lower parts of the body such as the feet when a person stands for so long. Pitting edema can be evidenced by exerting pressure on a puffy skin of an individual with an object or a finger. If the applied pressure on the skin of individual results in an indentation that lasts for some seconds even after removal of the object inserting pressure, the edema is termed as pitting edema. With pitting edema, indentation is induced by all types of pressure regardless of their magnitude.

Pitting edema

Pitting edema is caused by systematic diseases that alter the normal functioning of diverse organ systems in an individual. Edema can also be caused by affected environmental conditions in which an individual resides. Diseases of organ systems include heart complications and inactive venous. Diabetes has also been linked with the causation of edema, it predisposes an individual to heart diseases that result in edema. Heart failures, diabetes, and incompetent venous cause edema because they lead to one’s body retaining a lot of sodium chloride salt. Too much salt in the body increases the osmotic pressure that leads to the accumulation and intake of excess water into the body tissues. The retained water then leaks to lower interstitial tissues where it results in edema (Ayushveda, 2011).

Incompetent venous is a result of varicose veins and inflammation of deep veins of the lower limbs. These venous complications lead to the inadequacy of blood being pumped by veins and an increase of back pressure within the veins. The resultant pressure results in the accumulation of fluids in lower limbs that seep out into interstitial tissues, causing pitting edema (McCarty, 1985).

Edema can also be caused by the loss of plasma proteins. Loss of plasma proteins leads to the accumulation of watery fluids in the body that may escape to the lower limbs, hence resulting in edema. Obstruction of lymphatic vessels leads to accumulation of fluids in certain parts of the tissue, such swellings are termed edema.

Macroscopic and microscopic findings of edema

Edema causes spongy alterations on skin surfaces. The spongy alterations appear grey and white in color. Among the known types of edema, cytotoxic edema is expressed greatly. For instance, it can lead to the swelling of the head even after broadening cortical gyri and eliminating sulci. On the other hand, edema pitting edema causes a prolonged dent in the application of pressure on the affected skin. The felt pain is microscopic, and thus cannot be resolved.

Causes and signs of edema

The symptoms portrayed on the skin of an individual depend on the severity of edema and the composition of the affected tissue. Edema observed in some body parts of a person may show no signs at all. On the contrary, a broad allergic reaction like that caused by a bee sting may lead to edema altering the functioning of the whole arm. On such occasions, the occurrence of edgy skin, hurting, and difficulties in walking may be the symptoms. Some individuals are also allergic to foods; such people in consuming allergic foods may suffer from tongue edema that may lead to difficulties in breathing.

Leg edema has been associated with difficulties in walking, individuals suffering from leg edema feel their legs being heavy, thus, difficulties in walking. Severe leg edema may lead to an individual’s leg weighing more than 7 pounds. Severe leg edema has been found to interfere with the normal circulation of blood, thus leading to skin ulcers. On the other hand, pulmonary edema leads to breathing difficulties. It leads to a reduction of the volume of oxygen in an individual’s blood. The cough of individuals suffering from pulmonary appears foamy.

Treatment of edema

Treatment of edema involves the removal of excess fluid from an individual’s tissues. Various herbs have been found to contribute significantly towards the removal of excess fluids that cause edema from the body. Alfafa plays a significant role in treating kidney edema. It can last for a long in the body of an individual suffering from kidney edema. Alfafa has the potential of flushing out the fluids accumulated in the kidney tissues thus leading to the healing of an individual. Chichita herb also uses its diuretic properties in treating the edema of the kidney. It Behera is also a medicinal herb that aids in the treatment of edema. It is known for its ability in flushing out unnecessary fluids from an individual’s body. The ash of gokulakanta plant mixed with cow’s urine has been found to be so effective in treating edema. The mixture of the two removes excess fluid from a person’s body. Digitalis herb also contributes significantly towards removing obstructions found in the urinary system. The clearing of the urinary system allows continuous outlet of fluids that were retained in the body.

Relevance of pitting edema to dental surgery

After undergoing dental surgery, an individual experiences pain, and the gum swells. The swelling and paining of the gum may lead to severe infection if not treated carefully and in time. Just as in the case of pitting edema, an individual is supposed to observe hygienic measures. It is also appropriate for an individual to seek medical attention in time (Turnbull, 1992).


Ayushveda. (2011). Pitting Edema. Web.

McCarty, D. (1985). Remitting Seronegative Symmetrical Synovitis With Pitting Edema. Web.

Turnbull A. (1992). A remarkable coincidence in dental surgery. Br Med J1900; 1:1131.

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