- Heart Disease (Coronary Artery Disease) Slideshow Pictures
- Atrial Fibrillation Slideshow: Causes, Tests and Treatment
- Take the Heart Disease Quiz!
- Patient Comments: Edema - Effective Treatments
- Patient Comments: Edema - Causes
- Patient Comments: Edema - Signs and Symptoms
- Patient Comments: Edema - Salt Intake
- Patient Comments: Edema - Diuretics
- Patient Comments: Edema - Edema Experience
- Find a local Internist in your town
- Edema facts
- What is edema?
- What is pitting edema and how does it differ from non-pitting edema?
- What does pitting edema look like (picture)?
- What causes pitting edema?
- Does salt intake affect edema?
- What causes edema during pregnancy?
- What kind of doctors treat edema?
- Why does a person with heart disease retain fluid?
- Why do people with liver disease develop ascites and edema?
- Why do people with kidney disease have pitting edema?
- What causes pitting edema by heavy loss of protein in the urine?
- What medications treat pitting edema caused by heavy loss of protein in the urine?
- What causes pitting edema in people with impaired kidney (renal) function?
- What is idiopathic edema?
- What is the treatment for idiopathic edema?
- What is the treatment for patients with idiopathic edema who have become dependent on diuretics?
- How does venous insufficiency cause edema?
- Which diuretics are used to treat edema?
- Do people taking diuretics need a diet high in potassium?
- Are diuretics used for other diseases or conditions?
Quick GuideSurprising Reasons for Weight Gain
What is idiopathic edema?
Idiopathic edema is a pitting edema of unknown cause that occurs primarily in pre-menopausal women who do not have evidence of heart, liver, or kidney disease. In this condition, the fluid retention at first may be seen primarily pre-menstrually (just prior to menstruation), which is why it sometimes is called "cyclical" edema. However, it can become a more constant and severe problem.
What is the treatment for idiopathic edema?
Patients with idiopathic edema often take diuretics to decrease the edema in order to lessen the discomfort of bloating and swelling. Paradoxically, the edema in this condition can become more of a problem after the use of diuretics. The people can develop fluid retention as a rebound phenomenon each time they discontinue diuretics. Talk to your doctor before using any diuretics.
Patients with idiopathic edema appear to have a leak in the capillaries (tiny peripheral blood vessels that connect the arteries with the veins) so that fluid passes from the blood vessels into the surrounding interstitial space. Thus, a patient with idiopathic edema has a decreased blood volume, which leads to the typical reaction of salt retention by the kidneys.
- The leg edema in these people is exaggerated in the standing position, since edema tends to accumulate in those parts of the body that are close to the ground at the time.
- These people often have edema around the eyes (periorbital edema) in the morning because the edema fluid accumulates during the night around their eyes as they lay sleeping flat.
In contrast, edema around the eyes does not tend to develop in cardiac people who keep their heads elevated at night because of shortness of breath when they lie flat. These people characteristically experience varying amounts of edema in different parts of the body at different times of the day.