How to Treat Angioedema?

  • January 17, 2024
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How to Treat Angioedema?

What is Angioedema?

Angioedema is a medical condition characterized by sudden, severe swelling in the deeper layers of the skin, often affecting the face, lips, tongue, throat, hands, or feet. This swelling results from fluid accumulation within these layers, leading to the development of large welts that can be red or skin-colored. Unlike hives, which are raised and itchy welts on the skin's surface, angioedema involves swelling in the deeper tissues.

Triggered by specific factors, angioedema shares a common cause with hives - the leakage of fluid from small blood vessels into surrounding tissues. Typically lasting one to two days, this condition poses a serious risk, particularly when it impacts the airways, potentially leading to fatal consequences. The critical concern in such cases is the potential obstruction of normal breathing and compromised respiratory function.

Why Does Angioedema Occur?

Angioedema can be attributed to various factors, with the most common cause being an allergic reaction. Allergic angioedema is often triggered by certain foods, medications, insect stings, or environmental allergens. Other non-allergic causes include hereditary angioedema, a rare genetic disorder, and acquired angioedema, which may be associated with autoimmune diseases. In some cases, angioedema can be idiopathic, meaning the exact cause is unknown.

How is Angioedema Diagnosed?

Diagnosing angioedema involves a thorough examination of the patient's medical history, a physical examination, and sometimes additional diagnostic tests. Physicians may inquire about recent exposure to potential allergens, medications, or any family history of similar conditions. Blood tests, skin tests, and imaging studies may be conducted to identify the underlying cause and rule out other potential conditions.