dropsy(redirected from dropsical)
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, abnormal accumulation of fluid in the body tissues or in the body cavities causing swelling or distention of the affected parts. Edema of the ankles and lower legs (in ambulatory patients) is characteristic of congestive heart failure, but it can accompany other
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the accumulation of fluid (transudate) in the cavities, tissues, organs, joints, and membranes of the human body owing to intensified transudation of the liquid parts of the blood and lymph at the same time that they are insufficiently reabsorbed by the tissues. Dropsy may be caused by such conditions as cardiovascular diseases, tumors, renal disorders, malnutrition, and some types of poisoning. Dropsy may be local, general, or pseudo. Local dropsy generally develops when the veins in some part of the body become compressed. For example, obstruction or compression of the portal or femoral vein causes abdominal dropsy (ascites) or edema of the lower limb. Compression of the corresponding veins may give rise to thoracic dropsy (hydrothorax), dropsy of the testis (hydrocele), and other types. General dropsy may be caused by certain diseases. Thus, in heart disease, fluid accumulates in the lower parts of the body (cardiac edema). The edemas related to kidney disease, as well as starvation edemas, are formed evenly throughout the subcutaneous tissue (primarily in places with very loose subcutaneous tissue such as the eyelids and scrotum). Edematous skin is pale, smooth, dry, and shiny; in cardiac edemas it is bluish because of venous congestion. Indentations in the skin are produced by finger pressure. Pseudo dropsy is the name of the accumulation of fluid in the glandular or secretory cavities when their efferent ducts are blocked, for example, renal and uterine tube dropsy. Treatment involves the removal of the basic cause of dropsy.