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How is an edema treated?

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Quick Answer

Treatments for edema include elevating the affected limb, exercise, massage, compression and medication, according to Mayo Clinic. Limiting salt intake also helps to reduce the swelling.

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Edema is fluid retention in the body. While it may occur anywhere in the body, it is most common in the extremities. Edema is sometimes an indicator of a more serious health condition, reports Mayo Clinic.

Elevating the affected limb allows gravity to help the fluid flow back toward the heart and reduce the swelling. For best results, Mayo Clinic recommends elevating the affected limb above the heart. Keeping it elevated while sleeping is also helpful.

Movement helps to move the liquid back toward the heart reports Mayo Clinic. Doctors are able to provide patients with information concerning the best exercises to reduce edema.

Massaging the limb with firm but gentle pressure pushes the fluid out of the area. Elastic wraps and compression stockings also help to prevent pooling of fluids, according to Mayo Clinic.

If the edema does not respond to other techniques, Mayo Clinic reports doctors sometimes prescribe medication. Furosemide is a diuretic that doctors commonly prescribe for the condition. If the doctor feels other medications are causing edema, he may consider an alternative medication that produces fewer side effects.

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