Edema is the swelling of tissues as a result of excess water accumulation. Peripheral edema occurs in the feet and legs. There are two types of edema, non-pitting edema and pitting edema. Causes of pitting edema is caused by systemic diseases (most commonly involving the heart, liver, and kidneys), and medications. Local conditions that cause edema are thrombophlebitis and varicose veins. Edema or swelling of the legs, feet, ankles, and face are common during pregnancy. Idiopathic edema is edema in which the cause is not known. Pitting edema is scored on pitting edema measurement scales. Edema is generally treated with medication. Read more: Edema (Pitting) Article
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Kidney Disease Quiz: Test Your Medical IQ
Kidney disease is common. Take this kidney disease quiz to test your knowledge and learn the symptoms, causes and types of kidney...
Picture of Lymphedema
A common chronic, debilitating condition in which excess fluid called lymph collects in tissues and causes swelling (edema) in...
Picture of Pitting Edema
Observable swelling of body tissues due to fluid accumulation that may be demonstrated by applying pressure to the swollen area...
Picture of Kidneys
The kidneys are a pair of organs located in the back of the abdomen. See a picture of the Kidneys and learn more about the health...
Surprising Reasons for Weight Gain
There are many reasons for sudden weight gain when there are no changes in diet or exercise. Sudden weight gain could be caused...
Spider & Varicose Veins: Causes, Before and After Treatment Images
Learn the causes of spider veins and varicose veins and how to prevent them. Explore which treatments get rid of spider and...
Heart Disease: Causes of a Heart Attack
Heart disease prevention includes controlling risk factors like diet, exercise, and stress. Heart disease symptoms in women may...
Am I Having a Heart Attack? Symptoms of Heart Disease
Heart attacks symptoms vary greatly for men and women, from anxiety and fatigue to nausea and sweating. Learn the warning signs...
Foot Health: Causes of Swollen Feet and Ankles
Swollen feet and ankles may be associated with conditions like pregnancy, injury, heart failure, kidney disease, liver disease,...
Related Disease Conditions
Kidney (Renal) Failure
Kidney failure can occur from an acute event or a chronic condition or disease. Prerenal kidney failure is caused by blood loss, dehydration, or medication. Some of the renal causes of kidney failure include sepsis, medications, rhabdomyolysis, multiple myeloma, and acute glomerulonephritis. Post renal causes of kidney failure include bladder obstruction, prostate problems, tumors, or kidney stones.Treatment options included diet, medications, or dialysis.
Dilated Cardiomyopathy is a condition where the heart's ability to pump blood is decreased because the heart's main pumping chamber is enlarged and weakened. Symptoms of dilated cardiomyopathy include chest pain, heart failure, swelling of the lower extremities, fatigue, weight gain, fainting, palpitations, dizziness and blood clots.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) affects many people today. Many people with HCM have no symptoms or only minor symptoms, and live a normal life. Other people develop symptoms, which progress and worsen as heart function worsens.
Preeclampsia and Eclampsia
Preeclampsia is a condition in pregnant women marked by high blood pressure and a high level of protein in the urine. Eclampsia occurs when preeclampsia goes untreated. Eclampsia can cause coma and death of the mother and baby. Preeclampsia symptoms include rapid weight gain, abdominal pain, headaches, blood in the urine, dizziness, and excessive vomiting and nausea. The only real cure for preeclampsia and eclampsia is the birth of the baby.
Hashimoto's Thyroiditis (Symptoms, Diet, Treatments, Pregnancy)
Hashimoto's thyroiditis or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis, is an autoimmune disorder causing inflammation of the thyroid gland. Hashimoto's thyroiditis is a type of hypothyroidism, and is the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the US. Symptoms of Hashimoto's thyroiditis may include dry skin, fatigue, weight gain, feeling cold, excessive sleepiness, dry skin, dry coarse hair, difficulty swallowing, a lump in the front of the throat, muscle cramps, mood changes, vague aches and pains, problems concentrating, leg swelling, constipation, and depression. There is no cure for Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Diet changes, natural supplements, vitamins, or other natural products will not treat Hashimoto’s thyroiditis. Treatment for the autoimmune disorder is with thyroid hormone replacement therapy, which will be necessary for the rest of the person’s life.
Ricin is a biological toxin that can be made from processing castor beans. The length of time it takes for the poison to begin working depends on if you inhaled or ingested it, or if your skin and eyes were exposed. However, generally symptoms begin a few hours after poisoning; typically less than 10. You can die from ricin poisoning between 36 and 72 hours after exposure. Symptoms of ricin poisoning include: Fever Cough Nausea Low blood pressure Diarrhea Seizures Blood in the urine As there is no antidote, treatment focuses on minimizing the effects of poisoning.
Ingrown Toenail (Onychocryptosis)
Ingrown toenails are caused by the growth of the toenail into the surrounding nail fold. Symptoms and signs include toe pain, swelling, redness, and yellow drainage. Treatment at home involves soaking the affected foot in diluted white vinegar or Epsom salts, elevating the foot, and trimming the nails straight across. Surgery is also an option for severe cases. Prevent ingrown toenails by wearing shoes with a wider toe box and avoiding repeated injury to the toenails. Avoid curving or cutting the nails short at the edges.
Hyponatremia (Low Blood Sodium)
Hyponatremia is a condition in which the levels of sodium in the blood is too low. Some of the symptoms of hyponatremia include headaches, muscle cramps or spasm, seizures, weakness, restlessness, and confusion. Hyponatremia can occur from excess fluid in the body, or a loss of sodium in body fluid. Causes of low levels of sodium in the blood include chronic diseases like kidney or congestive heart failure, adrenal gland problems, hypothyroidism, and liver cirrhosis, and some medications. Diet and other lifestyle changes in addition to treatment with electrolyte replacement with an IV. Other treatments for hyponatremia depend upon the cause.
Pulmonary edema (swelling or fluid in the lungs) can either be caused by cardiogenic causes (congestive heart failure, heart attacks, abnormal heart valves) or noncardiogenic causes such as: ARDS, kidney failure, high altitude, pneumothorax, pleural effusion, aspirin overdose, pulmonary embolism, and infections. The treatment of pulmonary edema depends on the cause of the condition.
Diabetes and Kidney Disease
In the United States diabetes is the most common cause of kidney failure. High blood pressure and high levels of blood glucose increase the risk that a person with diabetes will eventually progress to kidney failure. Kidney disease in people with diabetes develops over the course of many years. albumin and eGFR are two key markers for kidney disease in people with diabetes. Controlling high blood pressure, blood pressure medications, a moderate protein diet, and compliant management of blood glucose can slow the progression of kidney disease. For those patients who's kidneys eventually fail, dialysis or kidney transplantation is the only option.
Ascites, the accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity is most commonly caused by cirrhosis of the liver. Some of the other causes of ascites include portal hypertension, congestive heart failure, blood clots, and pancreatitis. The most common symptoms include increased abdominal girth and size, abdominal bloating, and abdominal pain. Treatment depends on the cause of ascites.
Enlarged Spleen (Splenomegaly) Symptoms, Signs, Causes,Treatment
An enlarged spleen or splenomegaly, is generally caused by other diseases or conditions such as infections, cancers, blood disorders, or decreased blood flow. Symptoms of an enlarged spleen are often unnoticed. A feeling of fullness after eating a small amount of food and not being able to eat large meals may be a symptom of an enlarged spleen. Treatment for an enlarged spleen depends upon the cause.
Heart Murmur in Newborns, Children, and Adults
A heart murmur is a heart problem that can occur, for example, during pregnancy or exercise, or it can be a symptom of serious heart condition, for example, congenital heart defects or heart valve disease. A heart murmur makes a whooshing or swishing sound. Symptoms of a heart murmur include swelling of the legs or feet, dizzy or lightheaded, black outs, chest pain, rapid heart rate (palpitations), difficulty doing normal daily activities, fatigue, and a bluish tinge on the skin, lips, and fingernails. Treatment for heart murmurs in infants, children, and adults depend on the cause. Some heart murmurs can be harmless while some are serious and life threatening.
Lymphedema is a condition in which one or more extremities become swollen as the result of an impaired flow of the lymphatic system. There are two types of lymphedema: primary and secondary. Filariasis is the most common cause of lymphedema worldwide. In the U.S., breast cancer surgery is the most common cause. Symptoms include swelling of one or more limbs, cracked and thickening skin, and secondary bacterial or fungal infections of the skin. There is no cure for lymphedema.
Pleural effusion is a buildup of fluid in the chest or on the lungs. There are two types of pleural effusion, transudate and exudate. Causes of transudate pleural effusion include congestive heart failure, kidney failure, and cirrhosis. Exudate pleural effusion can be caused by malignancy (cancer) or lung infection. Typically, transudate pleural effusion is more easily treatable. Symptoms of pleural effusion include chest pain, pain when breathing, difficulty breathing, and cough. Treatment depends on the source or cause of the pleural effusion.
A brain hemorrhage is a type of stroke caused when an artery bursts in the brain, causing localized bleeding in the surrounding tissue. Causes of brain hemorrhage include aneurysm, liver disease, brain tumor, head trauma, high blood pressure, and blood vessel abnormalities. Symptoms include sudden severe headache, nausea, vomiting, loss of balance, tingling, numbness, vision changes, loss of consciousness, and loss of fine motor skills. Treatment depends upon the cause, location, and size of the brain hemorrhage.
Swollen Ankles and Swollen Feet
Swollen ankles and swollen feet is a symptom of an underlying disease or condition such as edema, medications, pregnancy, injuries, diseases, infections, lymphedema, or blood clots.
Kidney pain has a variety of causes and symptoms. Infection, injury, trauma, bleeding disorders, kidney stones, and less common conditions may lead to kidney pain. Symptoms associated with kidney pain may include fever, vomiting, nausea, flank pain, and painful urination. Treatment of kidney pain depends on the cause of the pain.
Coma is the inability to waken or react to the surrounding environment. The Glasgow Coma Scale is frequently used to measure the depth of coma. Causes of coma include trauma, bleeding, edema, lack of oxygen, poisoning, or hypoglycemia. Prognosis for a patient in a coma depends on the cause of the coma.
Liver (Anatomy and Function)
The liver is the largest gland and organ in the body. There are a variety of liver diseases caused by liver inflammation, scarring of the liver, infection of the liver, gallstones, cancer, toxins, genetic diseases, and blood flow problems. Symptoms of liver disease generally do not occur until the liver disease is advanced. Some symptoms of liver disease include jaundice, nausea and vomiting, easy bruising, bleeding excessively, fatigue, weakness, weight loss, shortness of breath, leg swelling, impotence, and confusion. Treatment of diseases of the liver depends on the cause.
Brain Tumor (Symptoms, Signs, Types, Causes, Survival Rates)
A brain tumor can be either non-cancerous (benign) or cancerous (malignant), primary, or secondary. Common symptoms of a primary brain tumor are headaches, seizures, memory problems, personality changes, and nausea and vomiting. Causes and risk factors include age, gender, family history, and exposure to chemicals. Treatment is depends upon the tumor type, grade, and location.
Cirrhosis of the liver refers to a disease in which normal liver cells are replaced by scar tissue caused by alcohol and viral hepatitis B and C. This disease leads to abnormalities in the liver's ability to handle toxins and blood flow, causing internal bleeding, kidney failure, mental confusion, coma, body fluid accumulation, and frequent infections. Symptoms include yellowing of the skin (jaundice), itching, and fatigue. The prognosis is good for some people with cirrhosis of the liver, and the survival can be up to 12 years; however the life expectancy is about 6 months to 2 years for people with severe cirrhosis with major complications.
High Blood Pressure (Hypertension) Signs, Causes, Diet, and Treatment
High blood pressure (hypertension) is a disease in which pressure within the arteries of the body is elevated. About 75 million people in the US have hypertension (1 in 3 adults), and only half of them are able to manage it. Many people do not know that they have high blood pressure because it often has no has no warning signs or symptoms. Systolic and diastolic are the two readings in which blood pressure is measured. The American College of Cardiology released new guidelines for high blood pressure in 2017. The guidelines now state that blood normal blood pressure is 120/80 mmHg. If either one of those numbers is higher, you have high blood pressure. The American Academy of Cardiology defines high blood pressure slightly differently. The AAC considers 130/80 mm Hg. or greater (either number) stage 1 hypertension. Stage 2 hypertension is considered 140/90 mm Hg. or greater. If you have high blood pressure you are at risk of developing life threatening diseases like stroke and heart attack.REFERENCE: CDC. High Blood Pressure. Updated: Nov 13, 2017.
Varicose vein: A dilated (widened) tortuous (twisting) vein, usually involving a superficial vein in the leg, often associated with incompetency of the valves in the vein. These visible and bulging veins are often associated with symptoms such as tired, heavy, or aching limbs. Spider veins are a group of widened veins that can be seen through the surface of the skin.
Pulmonary Hypertension (Symptoms, Treatment Medications, Life Expectancy)
Pulmonary hypertension is an increase pressure in the pulmonary arteries that carry blood from the lungs to the heart. The most common symptoms are fatigue and difficulty breathing. If the condition goes undiagnosed, more severe symptoms may occur, for example: Ankle swelling (edema) Heart palpitations Chest pain Dizziness Tiredness Decreased appetite Pain in the upper right side of the belly (abdomen) As pulmonary hypertension worsens, some people with the condition have difficulty performing any activities that require physical exertion. For example: Fainting (syncope) Lightheadedness, particularly during physical activity Swelling in the legs and ankles A bluish color to the lips and skin Researchers and doctors do not know what causes one type of pulmonary hypertension called idiopathic pulmonary hypertension. However, they do know that the can be caused diseases or condition you already have, for example, heart disease, high blood pressure, connective tissue disease, congenital heart disease, liver disease, pulmonary embolism (blood clot in the lungs), COPD, and emphysema.People at risk of developing pulmonary hypertension are those who: Live at high altitudes Have a family history of the condition. Have diseases and conditions that may put them at risk of developing pulmonary hypertension Use illegal drugs like cocaine, and certain diet drugs. While there is no cure for pulmonary hypertension, it can be managed and treat it with drugs like diuretics, blood thinners, calcium channel blockers, and using supplemental oxygen to increase blood oxygen levels. The prognosis and life expectancy for a person with pulmonary hypertension depends upon the severity of their condition. REFERENCES: NIH. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. "What is Pulmonary Hypertension?" Updated: Aug 2011 NIH. PubMed Health. "Pulmonary Hypertension (PH)." CDC. Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention. "Pulmonary Hypertension Fact Sheet." Updated: Jul 22, 2014.
12 Congestive Heart Failure (CHF) Symptoms, Stages, Causes, and Life Expectancy
Congestive heart failure (CHF) refers to a condition in which the heart loses the ability to function properly. Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, myocarditis, and cardiomyopathies are just a few potential causes of congestive heart failure. Signs and symptoms of congestive heart failure may include fatigue, breathlessness, palpitations, angina, and edema. Physical examination, patient history, blood tests, and imaging tests are used to diagnose congestive heart failure. Treatment of heart failure consists of lifestyle modification and taking medications to decrease fluid in the body and ease the strain on the heart. The prognosis of a patient with congestive heart failure depends on the stage of the heart failure and the overall condition of the individual.
Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBC)
Primary Biliary Cirrhosis (PBS) is a liver disease in which bile building up in the organ damages bile ducts. Ultimately, this can cause liver failure. A number of drugs are available to treat this disease of unknown cause, but the only ultimate cure is a liver transplant.
Endocarditis, a serious infection of one of the four heart valves is caused by growth of bacteria on one of the heart valves; leading to an infected massed called a "vegetation." The infection can be caused by having bacteria in the bloodstream after dental work, colonoscopy, or other similar procedures. Endocarditis symptoms include: fever, fatigue, weakness, chills, aching muscles and joints, night sweats, edema in the legs, feet, or abdomen, malaise, shortness of breath and small skin lesions. Treatment for endocarditis is generally aggressive antibiotic treatment.
Superior Vena Cava Syndrome
Superior vena cava syndrome is compression of the superior vena cava vein located in the upper chest. Causes of superior vena cava include lung cancer, lymphoma, other cancers in the chest, blood clots in the superior vena cava, or infection. Symptoms of the syndrome include shortness of breath. Superior vena cava syndrome is diagnosed by ultrasound, chest x-ray, CT scan, and in some cases biopsy. Treatment depends upon the cause of the syndrome.
Hypertensive Kidney Disease
High blood pressure can damage the kidneys and is one of the leading causes of kidney failure (end-stage renal kidney disease). Kidney damage, like hypertension, can be unnoticeable and detected only through medical tests. If you have kidney disease, you should control your blood pressure. Other treatment options include prescription medications.
Restrictive cardiomyopathy, the rarest form of cardiomyopathy, is a condition in which the walls of the lower chambers of the heart (the ventricles) are abnormally rigid and lack the flexibility to expand as the ventricles fill with blood. The pumping or systolic function of the ventricle may be normal but the diastolic function (the ability of the heart to fill with blood) is abnormal. Therefore, it is harder for the ventricles to fill with blood, and with time, the heart loses the ability to pump blood properly, leading to heart failure.
Cellulitis is an acute spreading bacterial infection below the surface of the skin characterized by redness, warmth, inflammation, and pain. The most common cause of cellulitis is the bacteria staph (Staphylococcus aureus).
Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT, Blood Clot in the Legs)
Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) is a blood clot in the deep veins, and can be caused by broken bones, trauma to a limb, immobility, medications, smoking, cancer, genetic predisposition, and cancer. Symptoms of a deep vein thrombosis in a leg are swelling, tenderness, redness, warmth, and pain. Treatments for DVT include medications and surgery.
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Treatment & Diagnosis
Medications & Supplements
- bumetanide - injection, Bumex
- furosemide - injection
- Thiazides (Diuretics)
- Diamox (acetazolamide)
- mannitol (Osmitrol)
- torsemide - injection, Demadex
- amiloride - oral, Midamor
- torsemide (Demadex)
- Aldactone (spironolactone) vs. Lasix (furosemide)
- Metolazone vs. thiazide diuretics
- Aldactone (spironolactone)
- hydrochlorothiazide (Microzide, Hydrodiuril)
- furosemide (Lasix)
- triamterene and hydrochlorothiazide
- indapamide, Lozol (Discontinued)
- metolazone (Zaroxolyn)
- bumetanide, Bumex (discontinued brand)
- chlorthalidone (Thalitone)
Prevention & Wellness
- Health Tip: Living With Leg Swelling
- So You've Had Weight-Loss Surgery. Now What?
- Hope for 1st Drug Against Lymphedema, a Cancer Complication
- Study Compares Drugs for Common Diabetic Eye Disease
- Drug Lucentis May Fight Diabetic Eye Disease
- Better Diabetes Blood Sugar Management Leads to Fewer Eye Surgeries
- Study Compares Drugs for Diabetes-Linked Eye Disease
- Many With Diabetes Don't Realize Disease Can Harm Vision
- FDA Approves Botox for Crow's Feet
- Climbers With Altitude Sickness Show Signs of Brain Bleeds Years Later
- Heart Failure Drugs Put to the Test
- FDA Gives Nod to First Drug for Diabetic Eye Disease
- Obesity May Raise Odds for Painful Leg Condition
- Zioptan Eyedrops Approved for Glaucoma, Ocular Hypertension
- Anthrax Vaccine Shows Promise in Monkeys
- Lucentis May Treat Diabetes-Related Vision Loss
- Drug Reverses Diabetes-Related Vision Loss