Leg oedema

Causes of leg oedema that require prompt treatment must be identified, e.g. deep vein thrombosis and heart failure. The most common cause of leg oedema in patients over 50 years of age is insufficiency of the leg veins. Oedema caused by insufficiency of the deep leg veins can be treated with compression therapy (graduated compression stockings). In women under the age of 50 years, the most likely cause is idiopathic oedema and non-drug therapy is the first-line treatment approach. Oedema caused by medication (particularly calcium-channel blockers) must be recognised. Excessive use of diuretics must be avoided when oedema results from immobilisation, venous stasis or an obstruction to the lymph flow. In many cases, oedema is caused by a multitude of factors.