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What is edema?

7 Answers
What is edema?
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Edema is accumulation of fluid in intercellular space.
This is normally prevented by the equilibrium between pressure inside blood vessels and pressure in intercellular space.
Edema occurs when the equilibrium is broken, which can be caused by:
1. Increase in intravascular hydrostatic pressure (ie pulmonary edema in pulmonary hypertension)
2. Decrease in intravascular oncotic pressure (oncotic pressure tends to recall fluid from interstitium and is mantained by blood proteins such as albumin)
3. Increase in extravascular oncotic pressure (which will recall fluid from vessels to interstitium, it occurs in hypothyroidism where there is accumulation of mucopolysaccarids in interstitium which recall water)
4. Increase in permeability of blood vessels due to release of vasoactive peptides such as hystamine (this occurs for instance in urticaria and edema of the glottis in allergic reactions)

Edema caused by systemic disorders (such as hypoproteinemia due to liver failure) tends to occur first at lower areas because hydrostatic pressure is higher (so swelling of ankles is typical while swelling of wrists is very unlikely, but it would be seen if the patient walked constantly on his hands!).

By pressing firmly with your finger on the skin of a patient with edema you will normally see a pit (fovea sign). This typically does not occurr in edema due to hypothyroidism (called mixedema) because mucopolysaccarids are highly capable of retaining water and you cannot modify the distribution of fluid with your finger. Therefore mixedema seen in hypothyroidism is called non pitting edema.

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S

Edema is the accumulation of fluid in cells. It is often found in patient who suffer with heart and/or lung disease, particularly congestive heart failure. Most commonly it is seen in the ankles, legs and pre-sacral areas. It is important to realize that in addition to the areas of edema that are evident internal organs may also be affected. If you have edema in your ankles you may also have an edemetous liver and fluid in your lungs. Pitting edema is identified when you press your fingertips against the area of edema and afterwards the indentations from your fingers remain for a time. When that happens you can actually feel the fluid moving away from the pressure of your fingers.

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J

Edema is the excess accumulation of fluid in the body. Edema occurs due to the loss of protein from the body. Clinically edema is of two types that is pitting edema and non pitting edema.

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R

Edema also called swelling, this occurs by collection of fluid in the skin due to infections by bacteria or virus..

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I

Edema is swelling caused by fluid in your body's tissues. It can occur in your feet, ankles and legs.

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D

Edema is an abnormal accumulation of fluid beneath the skin or in one or more cavities of the body.

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I

Excess fluid in the body's tissues.

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