When you spend the entire day on your feet or you have a long flight, or you walk all day – you will notice that your ankles, legs and feet will start to swell. This condition is also known as edema. Well, sometimes this type of leg swelling is completely normal. But, sometimes it can be a sign of more serious medical condition. This type of health problem can cause embarrassment and real discomfort, especially if this condition is visible for everyone around you.
What is Edema?
Well, this type of health condition is swelling, caused by excess fluid trapped in your body’s tissues. This type of swelling is quite common in the extremities, especially in the leg and feet area.
Most Common Symptoms of Edema Include:
- Stretched or shiny skin
- Increased abdominal size
- Swelling of the tissue under your skin
- Skin that retains a dimple after being pressed for several seconds
This type of health condition is often caused by pregnancy, injury, infection, medication, hormones, obesity, arthritis, lymphedema (blocked lymph channel), venous insufficiency, blood clots and heart, liver or kidney disease.
How to treat Edema:
- R-I-C-E method
Well, one of the best and most effective ways to treat edema and reduce swelling is the R-I-C-E method.
Rest your legs – If you suffer from this type of health condition, then you need to lie down on your back, because sitting up may cause some blood vessel constriction around your waist and your knees. And make sure you remove your shoes as well.
Ice – you need to apply some cold compress on your legs and feet. The cold compress will help to constrict your blood vessels and get blood flow to go back into your heart. But, make sure you don’t hold it on your feet more than 10 minutes at a time.
Compression – you need to warp your feet or ankles in a bandage or just slip on a compression sock. This can reduce the swelling and squeeze the blood up your leg.
Elevate – lie down and lift your legs with a pillow or a chair. It will encourage your blood to flow back towards your torso.
If you suffer from this type of health condition, you need to massage the affected area in order to release the accumulated fluid in your skin tissue and cells. You will promote better blood flow as well.
How to avoid Edema:
- Cut back on the salt
Well, your body is trying to maintain a proper sodium-water concentration outside the cell walls, that’s approximately the same as sea water. So, if you consume too much salt, your body will hold on to the excess water to maintain the right ration. This condition is called water retention and it can cause your body to swell.
High amounts of insulin in the body can cause fluid and sodium retention, especially in people who suffer from type 2 diabetes. And, after some time, this can lead to high blood pressure and congestive heart failure.
- Drink more water
Did you know that in some cases, dehydration can cause edema as well? When your body is not getting enough water, then it tries to push too much water into your cells and cause them to swell. In more severe cases, it can even happen in your brain as well and cause permanent damage. In order to stay hydrated, make sure you drink at least 10 glasses of water every day.
- Try diuretics
You need to eat natural diuretic vegetables. When you eat these types of vegetables, it can help you to release the fluid build-up in your body tissue. You need to eat these diuretic vegetables: asparagus, parsley, beets, grapes, green beans, leafy greens, pineapple, pumpkin, onion, leeks, and garlic. As we all know, garlic is loaded with the allicin compound, which is also a vasodilator. This means that this compound can dilate blood vessels and promote blood flow.
- Get more magnesium
This mineral will help to alleviate fluid retention in women, while they are on their period. This super healthy mineral can also relieve muscle cramps that may accompany edema.
While we exercise, muscle contractions occur. These muscle contractions constrict and dilute the blood vessels and bring blood back to the heart. This also helps to move the lymph and prevents it from pooling into your extremities. So, if you spend your entire day sitting or standing, you need to flex and extend your ankles and knees at least couple times a day. Note: it’s also very important not to cross your legs while you sit.