Edema- Accumulation of fluid in tissues

Edema- Accumulation of fluid in tissues

Edema is a condition in which the fluid accumulates and appears to be as a soft smooth bulge when touched forms a pit or dent on the body. The fluid is accumulated in the interstitium which is located beneath the skin layers and in the body cavities. The fluid accumulation is formed due to the leakage from small blood vessels. Accumulation of fluid in tissues

Edema is generally caused due to injury or inflammation or any infections, sometimes it may be also due to some medications, disorders etc. It is even observed in pregnant women. The swelling is restricted to some areas or whole body in some instances.


Edema is caused due to many reasons; the following are few and frequent reasons which cause edema

  1. Physical inactivity- edema is more prevalent in people who do not exercise and lead a sedentary life. Standing or sitting for longer duration too causes edema
  2. Females- in females’ edema is quite often due to the hormonal change for time to time in their life time. During menstrual cycle the hormone levels change, especially progesterone due to this fluid retention is observed. Even contraceptive pills cause edema and women on these pills put on weight occasionally. At the time of pregnancy the female body undergoes many changes and this leads to accumulation of fluids in many parts like face, arms, legs and feet. It is also seen during menopause.
  3. Diseases- there are many diseases which cause edema, the following are few- liver, heart, lung, kidney diseases, thyroid dysfunction, diabetes, and arthritis which causes severe pain in the joints.


  • The skin on swollen part of the body looks stretched, smooth and shiny.
  • When pointed on the swollen part with a finger and left it forma a pit or dimple like structure.
  • Body feels heavy and discomfort in stretching and doing any activity.Edema- Accumulation of fluid in tissues
  • Body weight increases.
  • If edema is there in feet, it will be difficult in walking and moving.
  • Puffiness of ankles, joints, eyes and face is seen.
  • Swelling at joints causes restrictions for joint movements.


The cause of edema can be determined by blood tests, urine tests, x-rays etc.


  1. Since edema itself is not a problem and is caused due to other disease conditions etc, it is advised to know the reason underlying the cause of edema and give the treatment accordingly.
  2. Swelling in local areas like feet, hands etc can be prevented by not giving them any pressure or severe physical activity and keeping the body posture raised for example resting the feet by sitting or relaxing the legs on bed or sofa.

Preventive measures

  • Regular exercise helps the body to gain strength, which helps under physical stress to prevent edema.
  • Do not sit or stand in a position for longer periods, instead frequent movements or a slight walk helps to stretch muscles and loosen them under pressure and for proper blood circulation.
  • If obese care should be taken to cut down weight.

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