Conditions + Treatments

Edema symptoms & causes in children

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What causes edema?

Many conditions associated with edema means that it has many causes, too. Here are some ways that conditions could cause edema:

Liver disease

A healthy liver helps to regulate the level of fluid in the body. If the liver is damaged, it may not be able to do this, leading to fluid build-up.

Kidney disease

The kidneys may not be able to eliminate enough fluid from your child’s body.

Heart disease

Edema related to heart disease can be associated with

Since your child’s body depends on her heart to pump blood to her organs, poor cardiac function can cause edema in several ways:

  • If your child’s heart, for whatever reason, isn’t pumping blood efficiently, blood can build up in the parts of her body furthest from the heart, such as the legs, ankles and feet.
  • This puts increased pressure on the tiny blood vessels called capillaries which may begin to leak blood into the surrounding tissues, causing swelling.
  • Because of the poor heart function, the kidneys sense less blood fluid available, and begin to conserve water and sodium.
  • Also, without sufficient blood supply, the kidneys have a harder time doing their job of ridding the body of excess fluid.
  • Eventually, this excess fluid builds up in the lungs.

What are the other symptoms of edema?

Aside from the actual swelling, you or your child may notice your child:

  • feeling tired after minimal physical exertion, like climbing stairs
  • gaining weight
  • having trouble breathing
  • with a cough that gets worse at night or when she is lying down. This may be a sign of acute pulmonary edema, or excessive fluid in the lungs, which requires emergency treatment.
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