With it being summer you may have noticed some swelling in your extremities especially in your hands, feet, legs, ankles, and arms. Excess fluid under your skin that is trapped in your body tissue is known as edema. You may have edema if you have swelling or puffiness directly under the skin, have stretched or shiny skin, have a distended abdomen area, or press on your skin and it stays indented several seconds after you stop pressing on it. Edema can be caused by many things including PMS, pregnancy, certain medications, sitting in one position for too long, eating too much salt in your diet, or an underlying medical condition such as heart failure, cirrhosis of the liver, or kidney disease. Edema may also be a side effect of certain medications including estrogen, NSAIDs, steroids, and certain blood pressure and diabetes medications. Sometimes edema may be mild and occasionally it may be severe. If you suspect you have a serious case be sure to see your doctor because it may be an indicator of a more serious medical condition (heart failure, cirrhosis, kidney disease/damage, or lymphatic system issues). Your doctor may prescribe a diuretic to help. Mild cases of edema usually clear up on their own, however, if you need to reduce the swelling try these techniques: elevate extremities, get moving (exercise more and don’t sit in one position too long), massage (make sure strokes go up to the heart), compression (you can use compression hose, sleeves, or stockings), and reducing sodium intakes.