Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Weeping Edema
Weeping edema can occur on many different parts of the body but is most likely to occur in the extremities, especially the legs, ankles, feet, and hands. Weeping edema is not a disease but rather a symptom of another disease or condition.
Edema happens when a large amount of fluid collects in the circulatory system or in spaces or gaps between body cells or tissue. Usually there is a balance of fluid in the body. Blood transports oxygen and nutrients throughout the body, and they move through the sides of the blood vessels into cells and tissue. Normally, the same amount of fluid that left the heart via the circulatory system returns to it via the same route.
Edema is when there is an imbalance between the fluid that left and the fluid that returned. For example, fluid moved from the blood vessels into the tissue but instead of all of it returning to the blood vessels, some of the fluid remained in the tissues. When this happens, swelling occurs. This swelling of tissue is called edema.
Weeping edema occurs when the fluid puts so much pressure on the veins and capillaries that they become leaky. The leaking out of this water part of the blood is called weeping edema. Sometimes the fluid is red like blood but it doesn’t have to be. The leaking fluid makes the surface of the skin wet. Usually with the wetness comes severe itching and pain.
When the surface of the skin has been broken open by this leaking fluid, there are raw, runny spots which have a great probability of getting infected before they disappear. When weeping edema happens, the first sign is often swelling in the legs, especially the calf muscles and ankles. You will most likely notice it at night when you have been on your feet all day.
Your swollen skin will feel rubbery and if you should press one of your fingers onto the surface, the skin will indent and only slowly come back to the surface. If you don’t do anything to help the situation, your legs and feet will stay swollen. They will next start to get more and more painful every day. In the end, if left untreated, the legs will turn to a reddish-blue color.
When you have weeping edema, it is a symptom which means that something else is wrong. It often happens with diabetes, pulmonary edema, congestive heart failure, hypothyroidism, and some kinds of cancer, to name a few diseases and ailments. If you have do have weeping edema, you need to see a doctor to have the problem diagnosed.
The worst thing that can happen is that you can get a life-threatening infection from the open sores. You will need to keep the skin dry, clean, and sometimes a bandage might also be needed. If the edema leads to an infection, you will most likely need antibiotics. The worst thing that can happen is that the infection can continue to worsen. You could eventually have a life-threatening infection and have to be hospitalized and given IV antibiotics. The next thing that will happen is you will either get better or worsen and die from the infection.
The weeping edema itself can be treated by cutting down on salt, losing weight, exercising, using special support stockings, and elevating the legs. Prescriptions may be given by your doctor for antibiotics or meds to treat the heart, kidneys or other organs. Remember to take periodic breaks if you sit in one position for too long.
Weeping edema is not something anyone would want to experience, so be very careful if you have a disease that puts you at risk. The itchiness and burning can sometimes be partially relieved by topical medications. The best you can do is to keep the areas dry and stay off the limb as much as possible.