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Edema is swelling in the body caused by excessive fluid accumulating in the tissues. When the amount of fluid in this space is more than 2.5 or three liters, the symptom becomes apparent. When edema is extreme and generalized across the entire body, it is called anasarca. This serious condition often indicates a life-threatening underlying condition.

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1. Edema Versus Anasarca

Edema typically appears as swelling in the feet, hands, and face. In most cases, it is temporary and does not require treatment. Regular edema can be caused by water retention, sitting or standing for too long, and menstruation. When this is the cause, edema generally goes away by itself. Anasarca is much more severe. Rather than being isolated to a limb or body part, it involves tissues all across the body and requires medical treatment.

edema foot swelling simarik / Getty Images
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