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What is Edema?

By on September 20, 2016

Edema means 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.

Causes of Edema include the following:

To keep swelling down, your health care provider may recommend keeping your legs raised when sitting, wearing support stockings, limiting how much salt you eat, or taking a medicine called a diuretic – also called a water pill. Water pills, treat a variety of conditions, such as high blood pressure, glaucoma and edema.

Diuretics are generally safe, but they do have some side effects, such as increased urination and mineral loss.

Diuretics can also affect blood potassium levels. You can develop too much potassium (hyperkalemia) if you take a potassium-sparing diuretic or too little potassium (hypokalemia) if you take a thiazide diuretic.

Other possible side effects of diuretics include:

  • Low sodium in your blood (hyponatremia)
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Dehydration
  • Muscle cramps
  • Joint disorders (gout)
  • Impotence


For more information on this topic, contact Medlineplus.gov where portions of this content originated.