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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.

ByHealthwise Staff
Primary Medical ReviewerE. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical ReviewerDavid A. Szalay, MD - Vascular Surgery
Last RevisedFebruary 1, 2012

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: February 01, 2012
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.