Edema is a specific type of swelling that results from fluid trapped in the tissue after leaking from tiny blood vessels. There are numerous causes for edema, such as congestive heart failure or pregnancy. Edema usually affects the arms, legs, ankles, and feet, though it can occur anywhere in the body. Organ-specific edema affects a single organ. If this is not the case, doctors will diagnose generalized edema. The symptom can develop in many ways, which translates to multiple treatment options, depending on the effects.
One of the most common symptoms of edema is swelling, puffiness, or bloating. In most cases, this swelling is gravity-dependent because gravity pulls the fluid toward the ground. As such, the swelling will change as the affected person's body position changes. While standing, the fluid will pool in his or her feet, ankles, and lower legs. Laying on the back may transfer the swelling to the groin. This type of generalized edema is also called dependent edema, meaning it pools in the lowest part of the body.
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