- Get the details on Anasarca

Anasarca - swelling

As previously mentioned, anasarca is a form of generalized swelling, or massive edema. Briefly, on this page we cover swelling as a topic, not necessarily only in the form as anasarca. The opposite would be localized swelling, which occurs on a particular location of the body. Here are several of the localized forms:

Abdominal and facial swelling
Swollen gums, glands and joints
Swollen legs, ankles, and feet


A variety of conditions, diseases, and circumstances can lead to swelling. Below are several potential underlying medical causes. Please remember that it can be caused by other items, as well as that having these issues does not necessarily mean that one will have swollen areas.

Acute glomerulonephritis and nephrotic syndrome
Burns and sunburn
Excessive sodium/salt
Heart failure
Hypoalbuminemia - lack of sufficient albumin in the blood
Lack of proper nutrition Liver failure (following from cirrhosis)
Renal disease (chronic)
Taking particular medications
Thyroid problems or conditions

Pitting and non-pitting edema

Swelling, or edema, can be classified as two different forms. Brief descriptions of both kinds are below:

In cases of pitting edema, the affected location will have a dent left in the skin if pressure has been applied to it by a finger for roughly 5 seconds. Slowly, it will begin to fill in to match the rest of the swelling after the finger has been released.

Non-pitting edemas do not have this same reaction (the swelling will not "cave in" when slight pressure from the finger is applied).

Diagnosis and treatment

When there is not a medical emergency, the doctor or the one attempting to make a diagnosis may ask for the patient's medical history. Following that, questions may be asked, and a physical examination could be administered. Some tests that are used for diagnosis in swelling-related issues may include: albumin and electrolyte level blood tests, echocardiogram and electrocardiogram, kidney and liver function tests, urinalysis (to make certain measurements), and X-rays. Treatment may vary upon different factors, including the underlying medical cause, and whether it is localized swelling, or generalized (anasarca).

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