Angioedema is a condition in which the deeper layers of your skin swell suddenly and temporarily. This condition is usually caused by an allergic reaction when your body misidentifies a harmless substance, such as a particular food, as something harmful. It may arise with or without hives and can affect any part of your body, such as the eyes, lips, genitals, and intestines.
Most angioedema cases are harmless and clear up quickly without treatment. However, some cases can be life-threatening if the swelling of the tongue or throat restricts the airway.
What are the types and causes of angioedema?
1- Allergic angioedema: when your allergic reaction is caused by foods such as fish, peanuts, eggs, and milk, or other factors including pollen, animal dander, insect bites, and latex.
2- Drug-induced angioedema: when your allergic reaction is triggered by certain medications, such as penicillin, aspirin, ibuprofen, and blood pressure medications.
3- Hereditary angioedema (if angioedema runs in your family): when your body does not produce enough C1 esterase inhibitor (a blood protein), allowing blood fluid to leak into other tissues and causing edema.
4- Idiopathic angioedema: when the cause of your allergic reaction is unknown. Possible causes include anxiety or stress, infections, or extremes in temperature.
What are the symptoms of angioedema?
- Swollen face, arms, hands, or feet
- Breathing problems
- Digestive problems (such as diarrhea or vomiting)
- Dizziness or fainting
- Redness or a rash
How is angioedema diagnosed?
During your consultation, the allergist will go over your medical and family history, ask about your symptoms, and perform a physical examination to the swollen areas of your body and check your airways to determine the severity, type, and cause of your condition.
The physician may also request blood tests or a skin prick test that involves pricking your skin with a small amount of the suspected allergy to get more information about your condition.
How is angioedema treated?
If angioedema does not go away on its own after a few days, the doctor will choose the most suitable treatment depending on the cause of your condition. Avoiding the recognized triggers is the best treatment option to reduce your chances of developing angioedema, but various medications are available to provide relief from severe symptoms, including:
– Antihistamines and oral corticosteroids to help relieve swelling, inflammation, and other allergy symptoms.
– Immunosuppressive medications to help suppress your immune system.
– Blood protein controllers if you have hereditary angioedema.
– If you have drug-induced angioedema, the doctor will prescribe a more tolerable medication as an alternative to what you are taking.
Schedule your appointment at Novomed today!
If you have symptoms of angioedema, make an appointment today with one of our expert allergists in Dubai or Al Ain by calling toll-free 8006686 or clicking the live chat icon at the bottom of the screen.