What is heat edema (swelling)?

Jump To

Heat edema (swelling)

It is not uncommon for the feet or hands to become swollen when a person sits or stands for a long time in a hot environment. This swelling is called heat edema.

Heat causes the blood vessels to expand (dilate), so body fluid moves into the hands or legs by gravity.

The balance of salt in the body is also a risk factor for heat edema. If salt loss is less than normal, the increased salt level draws fluid into the hands and legs.

Older adults have an increased risk of heat edema, especially if they have other medical conditions that affect their circulation.

People visiting hot climates from colder climates may also have an increased risk of heat edema.

©2011-2024 Healthwise, Incorporated

The content above contains general health information provided by Healthwise, Incorporated, and reviewed by its medical experts. This content should not replace the advice of your healthcare provider. Not all treatments or services described are offered as services by us. For recommended treatments, please consult your healthcare provider.