Cause and Effects of Edema

Section 20.3 #6. Cause and Effects of Edema  


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 Section 20.3 #6. Cause and Effects of Edema  


After surgery you may get some swelling, a condition called edema can cause this. Edema is extra fluid trapped in bodily tissues. Edema can be found in many parts of the body, but it is most common in the lower extremities (Legs, Feet, ankles, etc.) Edema has 3 causes. One being increased capillary filtration. Increases in capillary permeability, hydrostatic pressure, or decreased osmotic pressure can all result in an increased capillary filtration rate. (Edema 2022) Causes of increased capillary permeability include immune reactions such as bacterial infections, toxins, burns, etc. Causes of increased capillary hydrostatic include high venous pressure such as heart failure.

The second cause is reduced capillary reabsorption. Capillary reabsorption depends on oncotic pressure which is proportional to the concentration of blood albumin (Saladin, p.744) ) A lack of albumin produces edema which reduces the reabsorption of tissue fluid. Things such as liver disease often led to lower levels of protein in the body (hypoproteinemia) and edema. The third cause is obstructed lymphatic drainage. The lymphatic system is a network of one-way vessels that collect fluid from the tissues and return it to the bloodstream. (Saladin, p.744) Blockage of these vessels can intervene with fluid drainage which causes swelling.

If edema is left untreated it can lead to painful swelling, difficulty walking, skin ulcers, itchiness, and scarring. Some ways to treat edema are elevating the limb it is affecting higher than the heart, water pills prescribed by a physician, completing exercises, ted hose, low salt diet, etc.

Critical Thinking: 

This is an important topic to me because I see patients daily with edema. It mostly effects geriatric population, and pregnant woman but it can affect any age. It is important to get edema treated as soon as possible. Some lower extremity exercises I have patients complete to decrease edema are leg kicks, marches, ankle pumps, etc. I educated my patients the importance of completing exercises as well as elevating limbs to decrease edema to increase mobility. Edema can affect someone’s daily tasks due to being in so much pain caused from edema.

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Edema. Edema – an overview | ScienceDirect Topics. (n.d.). Retrieved February 20, 2022, from,infections%2C%20ischemia%2C%20and%20burns .

Saladin, K. S., Gan, C. A., & Cushman, H. N. (2021). Anatomy & Physiology: The unity of form and function. McGraw-Hill Education