Water accumulation in the tissues:

Edema ( Fluid accumulation in the tissues )

An edema is an excessive storage of fluids in tissue. The most common type of edema observed is calf edema. This storage of fluids can sometimes be normal, but it can also be from an overload of the vascular system, for example due to a weak heart or weak veins in the legs.

Full Description

An edema is an excess of fluid storage in tissue. The most common type of oedema observed is calf oedema, but oedema can occur in other parts of the body, too. At certain levels, this accumulation of fluids in the calf is normal when sitting or standing for a long time. But a larger amount of fluid accumulation that does not decrease after walking or lying down should be examined more thoroughly. The reason for increased fluids in tissue is often an overloading of the vascular system, perhaps due to a weak heart (heart failure) or weakness of the leg veins (chronic vein insufficiency). A weakness in the lymphatic vessel system is rarely the cause, but it can lead to so-called lymphedema. However, this special form will not be described in this text.


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Medical Conditions

Vains valves (valves of blood vessels that lead to the heart) in the legs become weaker with age, which pushes more fluid into the tissue. This can cause the legs swelling. Accumulation of fluids can also occur in individuals with certain underlying diseases. Patients with heart or kidney issues are especially vulnerable to develop edema. Individuals with kidney issues may experience swelling in parts of the body besides the legs. Edema can be present in particular locations, and perceived by patients in different ways. For example, shoes may suddenly no longer fit in the evening because the feet have swollen, as well feelings of heaviness and pain may also occur.


Accumulation of fluids itself is not usually dangerous for the patient. One exception is pulmonary edema (edema of the lungs), which can develop due to a weak heart. The cause for edema in the legs determines the health-related consequences. The most common case is of weakness in the vain valves in the legs (chronic vein insufficiency), which can lead to an insufficient supply of blood and oxygen to the skin, affecting wounds on the calf to heal slowly or poorly. Treatment for leg edema is possible with the use of compression stocking and long term treatment of wounds. In rare cases, operation is necessary. If a kidney or heart issue is found to be the underlying cause of edema, then diagnosis by a doctor is absolutely necessary to establish proper treatment, since it may be a serious condition.