Our blood flows through the body in a network of blood vessels. These vessels come in different sizes, the smallest of which are capillaries. Some capillaries are so narrow that only a single blood cell can pass through at a time in some places. The walls of capillaries are also very thin, and this is important for the exchange of oxygen and nutrients.
Some conditions can cause fluids to leak through the thin walls of the capillaries and into the surrounding tissues. These fluids can begin to accumulate in these tissues and this can cause the area to become swollen. This is a condition that used to be commonly known as dropsy, although it is usually called edema today.
Edema is a condition where fluids have begun to accumulate in the patient’s bodily tissues. It happens when fluids in blood vessels leak into the surrounding tissues, thus causing fluids to begin to accumulate in those tissues. This will then cause the area to become swollen and other symptoms can also be experienced in some cases.
Edema can be experienced just about anywhere in the body, but it usually happens in the feet, legs, and ankles. It is also fairly common for it to happen in the hands and arms. There are a number of underlying causes for this condition, some of which can be serious.