Edema: Causes & Symptoms

by Meenakshi Nagdeve last updated -

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Simply put, edema refers to swelling. It usually manifests on the hands, arms, ankles, legs, and feet. But sometimes, it can also be found in the internal organs like muscles, bowels, lungs, eyes, and brain.

What is Edema?

Edema is the swelling of a body part caused by fluid retention. In this condition, there is a “trapping of fluids in tissues” which occurs when your blood vessels leak fluid into the surrounding tissues. The buildup of fluid causes the affected area to swell. It could also be accompanied by itching or pain.


There can be quite a few ultimate and proximate causes behind this health condition.

  • Blood pressure and heart troubles; the most serious form is pulmonary edema that can even lead to heart failure
  • Getting hurt at any of your body part or a ligament is torn
  • Standing for a long time or walking for hours
  • Allergic reaction from an insect bite
  • Pregnant women often get swollen feet

A man with a swollen leg suffering from edema


The symptoms of edema differ depending on the type and location. Some of the common symptoms are as follows:

  • Pain
  • Swelling
  • Stretched skin
  • Itching
  • Stiffness in joints
  • Veins begin to pop
  • Raised blood pressure
  • Nausea
  • Blurred vision
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About the Author

Meenakshi Nagdeve, Co-Founder, Organic Facts is a health and wellness enthusiast and is responsible for managing it. She has completed the Nutrition And Healthy Living Cornell Certificate Program, Cornell University, US. She holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from IIM Bangalore and B. Tech in Metallurgical Engineering and Materials Science from IIT Bombay. Prior to this, she worked for a few years in IT and Financial services. An ardent follower of naturopathy, she believes in healing with foods. In her free time, she loves to travel and taste different types of teas.

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