Edema is the correct medical term for swollen legs, feet and ankles. Situations like sitting or standing for too long will make this condition worse. Edema can be a by-effect of some hidden condition like joint pain, heart, kidney or liver issues, lymph edema (blockage of the lymph channel) or problems with circulation. Also, pregnancy, drugs or hormonal imbalance can provoke the edema.
Some common symptoms of edema:
- Swollen under-skin tissue
- Bloated stomach
- Glossy skin
- It takes a while for the squeezed skin to return to normal, parts remain indented.
How to treat edema:
- R-I-C-E treatment
This is the best technique for relieving edema symptoms. R-I-C-E stands for:
Rest your legs: Sitting can make the veins narrow in the knee area, so back resting is recommended to allow blood flow in the lower body parts. Also, remove your shoes.
Ice: Put some ice packs on the swollen legs to stimulate blood flow to the heart. Hold the ice pack for 10 minutes
Pack: Put on a pressure sock to reduce the swelling and divert blood flow to the direction of your heart.
Lift: Lie down and raise the legs a little bit using a cushion to make the blood go to the upper body part.
Massage will help the release of accumulated fluids in the skin tissue and cells, and improve blood circulation.
How to prevent edema:
Salt cause water retention, which causes swelling, because the body is trying to maintain the balance between sodium and water outside the cells.
As strange as it seems, lack of water is another reason for edema, because it make your body store more water in the cells, which makes them swell. So drink more than 10 glasses of water a day, so that the body doesn`t get dehydrated.
Same as with salt- high insulin levels can cause liquid and sodium retention, especially in people suffering from type II diabetes. After a while, this can trigger congestive heart failure and hypertension.
Concentrate on the leg muscles in order to divert blood flow from the legs to the heart. People who sit or stand all they long should practice regular exercising, or at least stretch and extend the legs from time to time. When you sit, try to fold the legs. Exercising is great for stimulating the lymphatic system.
- Increase magnesium intake
Magnesium helps reducing the levels of accumulated liquid, especially in women during their period.
Eat more vegetable with diuretic effects to help you remove the water from the tissue. The best option for this will be parsley, pumpkin, leeks, onion, garlic, beets, green beans and verdant greens. For example, garlic contains allicin which is an excellent vasodilator.