‘I’m a unit that measures length, although I’m not a mile. There’s two of me on your body, but I’m not used to smiling?’ Yeah, I thought I will let you rack your brains for this one, so what do you think is the answer? Any guesses! well, its foot/feet. You may be thinking what’s up with these feet riddles, well it’s just that our feet like all other body parts do so much for us, and literally carry our weight around for us, and even suffer from many woes. So, I have been riddling out a few feet’ concerns and how to take care of them.
Have you heard the term ‘edema’ it means swelling of the body part when liquid accumulates in the body tissue? It can occur in any body part but is generally observed in feet and is called pedal edema, and that is the riddle we are solving today. Pedal edema is a collection of fluid in feet and lower legs. As you can imagine swelling is noticeable by the naked eye, and it can leave a deep impression if pressed for some time, meaning it can give you temporary dimples (nope, not cute, it’s known as pitting edema). These two would also work as the symptoms of the condition.
This is common in pregnant females and older people, so pregnancy is equivalent to getting older (bad joke). But yes! pregnancy requires more fluid retention which often leads to the swollen feet, however, anyone can experience it and then usually it is associated with some other underlying illness such as:
- Kidney damage (leads to a build-up of sodium)
- Liver damage, or cirrhosis of the liver
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Heart failure
- Venous insufficiency
- Renal disease
- Pulmonary hypertension
Also, certain medications can lead to edema as well, like estrogens, high blood pressure medication.
It is said that when the edema is because of a systemic disease (affecting the entire body and not related to an organ) the amount of swelling will be almost equal in both legs, however, if it is because of non-systemic then you may only experience it in one leg, or it won’t be equal in both. The trouble with the swelling is that over time it lessens the sensation power, leading to imbalance and increased risk of falls. Some cases can be painful too, and it can cause stiffness or infection in the affected area.
Normally it is easy to diagnose, and a physical check-up with medical history questions can help a doctor ascertain the condition, however, for underlying disease one may need to undergo certain tests like a blood test, MRI, ultrasound, urine culture test.
Usually, edema can clear itself up after a few days with proper rest and reducing the salt intake in your diet. You would be required to keep your legs elevated for swelling to go down, however, in some cases, diuretics may be prescribed by doctors. They’ll make you pass urine which will clear out the excess liquid from edema affected body parts. And of course, the causing illness will need its own treatment. You can massage, use compression and some exercises can be done in addition to the above methods, to relieve yourself off the extra liquid and accompanying swelling.
I have another riddle for you, what is the last thing you take off before you go to bed? Answer: feet off the floor. So, don’t forget to rest them up too.