Header Ads Widget

Why Is My Body Swollen? -Doctor Micheal

Also Read


It is usual for the illness to manifest itself as swelling. A person will experience swelling at some time in their lives if they are in the first five years of their life. Learn more about the causes that lead to swelling, as well as what you may do to alleviate the symptoms of edema.

 Why Is My Body Swollen



Different Forms and Causes of Body Swelling

Excessive accumulation of fluid in interstitial tissue spaces is called edema. Edema may be generalized or localized. In generalized edema, there is the retention of excessive fluid in tissues resulting in an increase in total body fluids.

This excessive fluid is due to the transudation of fluid into the tissue spaces, an increase in fluid in cells, and an increase of fluid volume in the venous and capillary sides of the circulation. Along with the retention of water, there is the retention of sodium and chloride. In edema, you will feel the tightness of the part and unusual heaviness. The skin is stretched and shiny and the normal wrinkles are obliterated.

Superficial veins become less prominent. The confirmatory sign of edema is pitting on pressure, i.e. pressure over the edematous part displaces the fluid and this leads to the formation of a dimple. The test is performed by exerting gentle pressure with the flat of the thumb for ten seconds over a bony area.


Generalized Edema

Causes of Generalized swelling (Edema)

Cardiac (Heart) failure: In right-sided heart failure there is systemic venous congestion and generalized edema. The edema is dependent in nature, i.e. edema is most prominent in those parts which are the lowest. In ambulant subjects, the edema is maximal over the ankles and feet (pedal edema) and it is worse towards the end of the day. It clears up with recumbence. In bedridden patients, edema is most prominent over the sacrum. An early symptom of generalized fluid retention is nocturnal polyuria.

The fluid which accumulates during the day is cleared at night due to improvement in cardiac output. As the condition progresses, the edema becomes established at all times. With diuretic therapy, the urine volume increases and the edema clears. Cardiac edema is accompanied by other signs of cardiac failure such as exertional dyspnea, engorged jugular, and hepatic enlargement. In the early stages of left-sided heart failure, pulmonary congestion and pulmonary edema occur. Later right heart failure supervenes and generalized edema develops.

Renal (Kidney) causes: Generalized edema is a common accompaniment of acute kidney diseases ( nephrotic syndrome and nephrotic syndrome). In acute nephritic syndrome, the edema is most prominent over the eyelids and face, especially on waking up after sleep. In nephrotic syndrome, the edema is caused by hypoalbuminemia and it is also dependent in nature.

Hypoalbuminemia: Serum albumin accounts for the major part of the colloid osmotic pressure of the plasma, which is responsible for drawing the fluid from the tissue spaces into the venous end of the capillaries and lymphatics. This type of edema is also dependent in nature.

Chronic liver disease with hypoalbuminemia leads to generalized edema.

Beriberi (due to thiamine deficiency) can lead to congestive cardiac failure (CCF) with generalized edema.


NOTE: When generalized edema is advanced, ascites and pleural effusions may develop. The fluid is transudate. With the clearance of the edema, the effusions are also clear. In cirrhosis of the liver, in addition to hypoalbuminemia, there is portal hypertension and this factor tends to localize the fluid to the abdominal cavity particularly





Localized Edema

Unlike in generalized edema, there is no accumulation of fluid in the entire body but there is accumulation in a localized area with edema confined to that region.


Causes of Localized Edema

Inflammatory edema: Edema and swelling are Integral constituents of inflammation. Due to several factors (both cellular and humoral), there is congestion of the vessels, increased permeability of the capillaries leading to the exudation of a large amount of protein-rich fluid and cells into the tissue.

This protein-rich fluid raises the osmotic pressure of tissue fluid, thereby offering resistance to reabsorption into the capillaries. In generalized edema, the edematous parts are not tender. Inflammatory edema is warm to the touch, the overlying skin is erythematous and it is tender.

Obstruction to blood vessels or lymphatics: Venous obstruction results in rising capillary pressure distal to the occlusion. This leads to the transudation of greater quantities of fluid. Similarly, lymphatic obstruction also leads to edema distal to the obstruction. Lymph (the fluid in lymph nodes ) being rich in protein tends to increase the osmotic pressure of the edema fluid.

Reduction of tissue tension: Normal skin and subcutaneous tissue which are rich in collagen exert a constant elastic tension that prevents free accumulation of fluid into the interstitial compartment.

Atrophy of the skin, subcutaneous tissue, and fat which occurs in emaciation and old age leads to falling in tissue tension and this favors the accumulation of excess tissue fluid. If edema persists for a long duration it tends to get organized with the proliferation of fibroblasts. At this stage, it is firmer and does not readily pit on pressure, e.g. filarial edema.

Lymphedema: Results in the accumulation of fluid in the skin and subcutaneous tissue. There is general thickening and induration of the skin. On pinching, the skin assumes the appearance of an orange peel (Peau-de-orange appearance).

Please feel free to leave a comment on this story in the section below.

Post a Comment

0 Comments