Signs and symptoms of edema include:
- Swelling or puffiness of the tissue directly under your skin
- Stretched or shiny skin
- Skin that retains a dimple after being pressed for several seconds
- Increased abdominal size
When to see a doctor
Make an appointment to see your doctor if you have swelling, stretched or shiny skin, or skin that retains a dimple after being pressed. Seek immediate medical attention if you experience:
- Shortness of breath
- Difficulty breathing
- Chest pain
These symptoms can be a sign of pulmonary edema, which requires prompt treatment.
If you've been sitting for a prolonged period, such as on a long flight, and you develop swelling and pain in a leg that won't go away, call your doctor. Persistent leg pain and swelling can be a sign of a blood clot deep in your veins (deep vein thrombosis, or DVT).
Sept. 19, 2014
- Walsh D, et al. Palliative Medicine. Philadelphia, Pa.: Saunders Elsevier; 2009. http://www.clinicalkey.com. Accessed June 10, 2014.
- Sterns RH. General principles of the treatment of edema in adults. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 2, 2014.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed June 2, 2014.
- Sterns RH. Patient information: Edema (swelling) (Beyond the Basics). http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed June 18, 2014.
- Barbara Woodward Lips Patient Education Center. Tips for managing your edema. Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2010.
- Trayes KP, et al. Edema: Diagnosis and management. American Family Physician. 2013;88:102.