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Edema is the swelling caused by fluid in your body’s tissues. It usually occurs in the feet, ankles and legs, but it can involve your entire body. Although not typically dangerous on its own, edema can be a sign of an underlying condition — such as congestive heart failure, cirrhosis, kidney disease or damage to your leg veins — that could be dangerous. Therefore, you should see a vascular expert for accurate diagnosis and effective treatment for your edema. Experts at Ohio State Heart and Vascular Center are experienced in diagnosing and managing edema, right here in Columbus.
Causes of edema include:
The main sign of edema is swelling, which oftentimes begins in the feet, ankles and legs, but can occur in other areas of the body. You might also notice that the skin looks stretched or shiny.
If you have any of the following symptoms, you should see a doctor immediately:
These symptoms could be signs of pulmonary edema (excess fluid in the lungs often associated with heart problems), which is a serious condition that requires quick medical attention.
Your doctor will conduct a thorough physical exam and ask questions about your health history in general and your edema symptoms in particular. You may also undergo one or more of the following tests to aid in diagnosis or to rule out underlying conditions that can cause swelling:
Treatment will depend on the underlying condition that is causing the swelling.
In addition, to keep swelling down, your doctor may recommend some or all of the following:
If you don’t seek attention for your edema, the underlying medical condition that is causing the swelling can worsen. In addition, you may experience:
At Ohio State’s Integrated Vascular Center, our patients benefit from the coordination of experts in all fields of vascular care, from diagnosis and management of edema and vascular disease to complex surgeries and treatments not offered elsewhere in the area. Ohio State is a leader in the care of patients with vascular diseases, performing hundreds of vascular procedures each year.
Because of the expertise of our surgical teams and our experience in highly specialized procedures and advanced techniques, Ohio State’s Integrated Vascular Center is a regional referral center for patients who come to us from all parts of Ohio, Pennsylvania, West Virginia, Indiana, Kentucky and the Midwest.
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