What is Edema?
Edema is a condition that results when fluid collects in small spaces around organs and body tissue. As the fluids collect and build up, swelling occurs. In this article we will discuss edema that occurs in the lower leg also called peripheral edema.
What are the Symptoms of Peripheral Edema?
Edema is generally easy to identify. The foot, ankle and leg will appear puffy or swollen. The skin can appear to be stretched and even shiny if pulled tight by the swelling. The swelling is often worse after walking, being on feet for long periods or sitting for a long period of time. It may also be worse at the end of each day. If you push on the skin, it will leave an indention that will take a few seconds to many seconds for the skin to return to normal.
What Causes Edema?
Several conditions can lead to peripheral edema:
- Kidney Disease - Kidney disease can cause peripheral edema as well as swelling around the eyes.
- Chronic Venous Disease — the veins in the legs are unable to pump blood back up into the heart, the fluid collects in the lower leg.
- Medications - Drugs often cause many side effects - edema can be a side effect of medications.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis - A blood clot can develop causing edema. This usually causes swelling in only one leg.
- Pregnancy — in late pregnancy, women often experience edema in their feet and ankles. It is normal for a pregnant woman to retain some extra fluid but can be a sign of preeclampsia if other symptoms are present.
- Heart failure — Congestive heart failure results in poor pumping action of the blood. When the heart cannot pump with proper force, fluids pool in the legs, abdomen and the lungs. This can be a very serious condition and requires medical attention.
Graduated Compression Stockings for Edema?
Graduated compression stockings are one treatment for edema. The stockings are designed to improve blood flow and reduce edema. The stockings create gradual pressure on the legs, thus pushing the blood back up into the heart, improving circulation and minimizing the buildup of fluid in the lower legs.
The stockings are elastic and are available in knee highs, thigh highs, and pantyhose. The elastic in gradient stockings exert the largest amount of pressure around the ankles and is then reduced gradually up to the thighs.
Types of Compression Stockings for Edema?
- Mild compression stockings are often used for aching and tired legs. If you suffer from varicose veins or have mild swelling, these may be beneficial for you.
- Moderate compression are used for mild to moderate pain, swelling and aching.
- Firm compression are used for moderate edema and again for mild to moderate pain.
- Extra firm compression socks are used for those who have severe disorders that compromise circulation.
What Should I Know About Compression Stockings for Edema?
- If you have diabetes, you must speak to a doctor prior to using.
- A physician will determine what compression stockings are best for you and your condition.
- Gradient stockings are used for swelling that occurs after sitting or with people who are more likely to develop blood clots.
- Anti-embolism stockings stimulate lymphatic and venous drainage. These are often used for patients who have recently had surgery or are bedridden.
- Compression stockings for edema should not be too tight nor too loose.
- Wash your stockings in cold or warm water - avoid hot water. Do not dry in a dryer and do not use bleach.
Work with your physician or ask the customer service team here at Medbarn to ensure you purchase the proper compression stockings.