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Heat Edema (Swelling)

It is not uncommon for the feet or hands to become swollen when a person sits or stands for a long time in a hot environment. This swelling is called heat edema.

Heat causes the blood vessels to expand (dilate), so body fluid moves into the hands or legs by gravity.

The balance of salt in the body is also a risk factor for heat edema. If salt loss is less than normal, the increased salt level draws fluid into the hands and legs.

Older adults have an increased risk of heat edema, especially if they have other medical conditions that affect their circulation.

People visiting hot climates from colder climates may also have an increased risk of heat edema.

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer William H. Blahd, Jr., MD, FACEP - Emergency Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer H. Michael O'Connor, MD - Emergency Medicine
Current as of August 30, 2013

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: August 30, 2013
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.