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Edema (cont.)

Medical Treatment

Once again, the treatment depends on the condition causing edema. In general, the treating principle is to reverse the forces that are not working properly:

  1. Increase the forces that keep fluid inside the blood vessels
  2. Reduce the forces that cause fluid to leak out of the blood vessels
  3. Identify the cause of the leaking blood vessel walls

For example, increasing the blood protein (albumin) level in a patient with a nutritional deficiency can help retain fluid in the blood vessels. Healing tissues exposed to trauma, (for example, swelling from a sprained ankle) assists in preventing fluid leaking from blood vessels.

The ultimate goal with edema treatment is to rid the excess fluid that has accumulated in the surrounding tissues in the body. The most common treatment is a diuretic. Diuretics make the kidneys excrete excess fluid from the body; which reduces the general fluid volume in the body. Diuretics should be used with caution as dehydration can be a side effect. There are many different types of diuretics that have different mechanisms of action and different potencies.

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