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Illness & Conditions - Definition

Edema

Edema

Edema is the abnormal buildup of fluid in a part of the body, which can cause swelling and pain.

Some causes of edema include:

  • Inactivity. Swelling of the ankles during a long airplane trip is an example of edema caused by inactivity.
  • Diseases such as heart failure. If the left side of the heart is damaged, it can cause fluid to build up in the lungs (pulmonary edema).
  • Blood clots that stop the flow of blood through a blood vessel. This causes blood to pool behind the clot.
  • Infection. The body often fights an infection by increasing blood flow to the area, which can result in edema.

The treatment for edema depends on the cause.

Last Revised: February 1, 2012

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine & David A. Szalay, MD - Vascular Surgery

This information does not replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise, Incorporated disclaims any warranty or liability for your use of this information. Your use of this information means that you agree to the Terms of Use. How this information was developed to help you make better health decisions.

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