Swelling is the enlargement of organs, skin, or other body parts. It is caused by a buildup of fluid in the tissues. The extra fluid can lead to a rapid increase in weight over a short period of time (days to weeks).
Swelling can occur all over the body (generalized) or only in one part of the body (localized).
Angioedema Ankle, feet, and leg swelling Breast enlargement Facial swelling Joint swelling Scrotal swelling Swelling in the abdomen Swollen glands Swollen gums
Slight swelling (edema) of the lower legs is common in warm summer months, especially if a person has been standing or walking a lot.
General swelling, or massive edema (also called anasarca), is a common sign in people who are very sick. Although slight edema may be hard to detect, a large amount of swelling is very obvious.
Edema is described as pitting or non-pitting.
- Pitting edema leaves a dent in the skin after you press the area with a finger for about 5 seconds. The dent will slowly fill back in.
- Non-pitting edema does not leave this type of dent when pressing on the swollen area.
Burns, including sunburn Chronic kidney disease Heart failure
- Liver failure from
cirrhosis Nephrotic syndrome
- Poor nutrition
- Too little
albuminin the blood (hypoalbuminemia)
- Too much salt or sodium
- Use of certain drugs, including
- Androgenic and anabolic steroids
- Calcium channel blockers
- Certain blood pressure medicines
- Corticosteroids such as prednisone
- Diabetes medicines called thiazolidinediones
- Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs)
Review Date: 10/28/2010
Reviewed By: Linda Vorvick, MD, Medical Director, MEDEX Northwest Division of Physician Assistant Studies, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.