How to Choose the Best Edema Treatment Option

May 7th 2016

Edema is a condition with many potential causes, so the best treatment option varies. Determining the underlying cause and severity and then discussing your condition with a medical professional is a safe and reliable way to find the right treatment.

Determine the Cause

Edema is simply the medical term for swelling, so it can have many causes. For this reason, the best remedy is often treating the underlying root of the issue. Allergic reactions are a common cause of edema, and taking antihistamines can clear it up quickly. Eating too much salt can provoke a mild case of edema, and reducing salt intake may remedy the problem.

Other causes may be related to pregnancy or a woman's menstrual cycle, so alleviating symptoms as much as possible may be the only option for getting relief. Sitting or laying in the same position for a long time can also cause it, and the treatment for that type of edema may simply be to move around and hold the afflicted limb above heart level.

Managing some triggers may be highly complicated due to a more serious underlying medical condition. For example, cirrhosis, kidney disease and heart disease can all bring about edema and may require complex treatments of their own.

Determine the Severity

Edema symptoms can range from barely noticeable swelling around a mosquito bite to a life-threatening condition. Mild edema may require little or no treatment, while more severe cases may require drugs or other immediate interventions to prevent tissue damage. Those experiencing pain or shortness of breath associated with the edema may need immediate medical treatment, as this might be a symptom of a life-threatening condition, such as a blood clot or heart failure.

Knowing the underlying cause may help you determine the severity of the swelling and decide how to proceed. For example, a pregnant woman probably does not need quick medical intervention every time she notices that her feet are swollen. However, it is always safest to check with your doctor.

Talk to Your Doctor

Although mild edema that goes away quickly may not require medical intervention, it is a good idea to consult with a professional to ensure there is not a serious underlying issue causing the swelling. Be honest with your doctor about your lifestyle, diet and medical history. If edema is a recurring problem for you, mention that to your doctor. Even moderate recurring edema may be treatable by wearing compression clothing, making dietary changes or altering simply lifestyle habits.

Your doctor can help you determine the best and safest treatment options for you. If you decide to take diuretic drugs or other medication for moderate edema, be sure to ask about possible side effects and other drawbacks to help you make an informed decision.

Conclusion

Edema is an uncomfortable condition that can be unsightly, and at times, it's even life-threatening. There are many ways to treat it, and sometimes, trying to sort through those options can feel overwhelming. Fortunately, there are some easy ways to determine which treatment is right for you.

Sources

MayoClinic.org "Edema" http://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/edema/basics/definition/con-20033037
WebMD.com "Edema overview" http://www.webmd.com/heart-disease/heart-failure/edema-overview
MedicineNet.com "Pulmonary edema" http://www.medicinenet.com/pulmonary_edema/article.htm

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