(EFFINGHAM, IL) – HSHS St. Anthony’s Memorial Hospital’s Wound Healing Center wants to educate area residents on health issues that affect many people throughout the United States.  One such health issue is edema, a condition characterized by swelling caused by an excess of fluids trapped in your body’s tissues. It can manifest at various times, in multiple locations, with differing symptoms. The swelling itself should not be considered a disease, but is typically a sign of a more serious underlying condition.
There are a number of possible underlying causes associated with edema ranging from small to more serious conditions including:

  • Venous Hydrostatic Edema – This accumulation of excess fluid in the spaces between tissue cells results from increased pressure exerted by blood against the wall of a capillary blood vessels (capillary hydrostatic pressure).  This can lead to edema due to heart failure, blocked veins (venous obstruction), increase in the total amount of fluid present in the body (volume expansion) or gravitational forces.

  • Damaged or inadequate lymphatic system – The lymphatic system helps to remove excess fluid. When this system is damaged, the lymph vessels and nodes may not drain an area correctly, resulting in swelling.

  • Kidney disease – Excess sodium and fluid in the circulatory system may result in edema of the legs.

  • Heart disease – When your heart loses the ability to pump blood effectively, blood can back up in the lower extremities, causing edema.

  • Side effect of medication – Certain medications such as estrogens, steroid drugs, high blood pressure medication or certain diabetes medications, can lead to an increased risk of edema.

  • Pregnancy – During pregnancy the body retains more fluid and sodium to support the fetus. Oftentimes this will result in swelling in the feet, ankles and legs.

  • Cirrhosis of the liver – Fluid will often accumulate in the abdominal cavity and legs due to liver damage.

  • Allergic Reaction – Most allergic reactions will result in some degree of edema. When exposed to an allergen, the body will allow the surrounding blood vessels to send fluid into the affected area. This reaction can range from a swollen bug bite to the swelling of the tongue or throat which can impede breathing.

HSHS St. Anthony’s Wound Healing Center, a member of the Healogics network, offers these tips to reduce the onset of edema:

  • Avoid prolonged sitting, standing or crossing of legs.

  • Elevate legs above heart several times a day and whenever sitting if possible.

  • Wear compression stockings.

  • Exercise regularly.

  • Adopt healthy nutritional practices: minimize your daily salt intake.

  • Stop smoking.

Edema may be your body’s way of telling you that something is wrong. The quicker you are able to find the underlying cause of edema the quicker your body can begin to heal. The elimination of edema is a dramatic driver in decreasing overall recovery time.
HSHS St. Anthony’s Wound Healing Center has been caring for chronic wounds since January 2010. The Center has been recognized by Healogics as a Center of Excellence each year since opening. Through advanced wound healing methods, including Hyperbaric Oxygen Therapy, and highly trained providers and clinicians, over 90 percent of St. Anthony’s Wound Healing Center patients have been healed annually. For more information on St. Anthony’s Wound healing Center, email Director Mary Huffman at Mary.Huffman@hshs.org or call (217) 347-3565.
About Healogics, Inc.
Headquartered in Jacksonville, Fla., Healogics is the nation’s leading provider of advanced wound care services. Healogics and its affiliated companies manage a nationwide network of Wound Care Centers® and cared for over 300,000 new patients in 2017 through an integrated network of partner hospitals and Wound Care Centers, academic medical centers, and other post‐acute sites. Healogics utilizes an evidence‐based standards of care to chronic wound healing to treat an underserved and growing patient population. For more information, please visit www.healogics.com.

Media Contact

Brad Ochiltree

Manager, Marketing & Communications
HSHS Illinois
Office: (217) 464-1161

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