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Angioedema is a skin problem. It is basically the swelling of the skin similar, but not equivalent, to hives.

The main difference between Angioedema and hives is that, the former occurs beneath the skin while the latter occurs on the surface of the skin. Angioedema may occur with or without hives, depending on what actually caused it.

Angioedema frequently occurs in the tissues beneath the lips and the eyes. Its progression is on a case-to-case basis. The advancement of the condition may occur in minutes or in hours. Mostly, Angioedema is mild and it is hardly recognizable unless it is starting to spread through the tongue, the throat, and the airways.


Many different things may cause Angioedema. Rapid progress of the inflammation must be considered as a medical emergency as it may well obstruct the air passages and cause suffocation. This is especially true when Angioedema is merely caused by an allergic reaction. Otherwise, Angioedema must be diagnosed properly to be supplied the right kind of treatment.


Angioedema may cause mild to severe symptoms of discomfort. Most commonly, red welts that occur around the surface of the eyes and lips characterize it. Itchiness, burning and painful sensation on the surface of the skin may also be present. Swelling on the insides of the throat, on the tongue, and on the hands and feet may also occur.

In severe cases, Angioedema may cause breathing difficulties and hoarseness. These symptoms are signs that the swelling reached your air passages and is creating trouble in your throat. If Angioedema is not given prompt attention, it may be life threatening. If suffocation due to Angioedema occurs, your life becomes endangered.


Angioedema is caused by a lot of different factors. The most common type of this swelling is caused by allergic reactions from food, drinks, and medication. In some cases, animal dander, insect bites, pollen, and mere exposure to cold, heat, or sunlight could trigger Angioedema. In allergic reactions, the body produces histamine when a foreign object is detected by the immune system. Such histamine causes the swelling as well as hives and a handful of other symptoms.

However, Angioedema can be caused by non-allergic reactions. It occurs in patients who are diagnosed with conditions that weaken the immune system such as lupus, leukemia, and lymphoma.
Image: Angioedema

There is also a hereditary form of Angioedema and it has different causes, treatments, and complications. Hereditary Angioedema may occur in the digestive tract and in other significant body organs. Similarly to the common Angioedema, it becomes life threatening when it reaches the larynx. When the airway becomes infected, severe breathing troubles may occur. Asphyxiation due to Angioedema can cause death if not remedied immediately.

In hereditary Angioedema severe pain is felt along with the swelling. The swelling may occur in the genitals and limbs and cause agonizing pain in that area. Depending on the triggers, the hereditary form of this disease may occur once a week, once a month, or once a year. The severity and location of attacks are hardly predetermined.


The treatment for Angioedema depends on its cause. If it is just Angioedema due to allergic reaction and your symptoms are mild, you may not need treatment. Moderate to severe cases, however, would require a medical professional’s attention. If the swelling provides utter discomfort, you may seek relief from antihistamines, corticosteroids or anti-inflammatory medicines, Cimetidine, Epinephrine, and Terbutaline.

In most cases, Angioedema patients are checked for any breathing problems. Once it is established that breathing is not impaired, your doctor may advise therapies to reduce the discomfort of the symptoms present. It may also help a lot for the pain and itchiness to go away if you apply cold compress to the affected area. If the first line of treatment does not solve the problem, go back to your doctor and have yourself checked. Other possible cause of your Angioedema may require a different line of treatment.

Hereditary Angioedema is more challenging to eliminate. That’s because this particular kind does not respond to antihistamines and corticosteroids. In this case, a long-term of diagnosis and treatment is required. Your doctor needs to know what triggers your attack so that you can be properly advised to prevent it. Prophylaxis is the most common form of treatment given to patients with hereditary Angioedema. As doctors do not want to put the life of the patient in jeopardy as an attack happens, prevention becomes the most important therapy. Regular infusions of inhibitors are used to ensure that the patient’s Angioedema episodes are held off.


Prevention is the ultimate cure for Angioedema. Getting yourself free of the triggers of your attacks is the only way to avoid contracting the disease. This is true with both the common and the hereditary form of Angioedema.

Prevention in this case involves knowing the triggers. In case of the common Angioedema, which is caused by an allergic reaction, you need to know your allergen. Yours may be different from another patient’s. It is important that you consult your case to a qualified professional. Tracing the trigger of your Angioedema attack would require analysis of your diet, your daily activities, and your drug intakes. Your doctor needs to know as to which elements, ingredients, or circumstances would trigger your Angioedema. The more frequent your attacks are, the more in-depth the diagnosis and treatment cycle would have to be.


People who may have a risk for Angioedema are forbidden to take non-prescription drugs. Drugs may include elements or ingredients that have a possible effect on your allergy. As such, it would be safest to seek your doctor’s advice before taking in any kind of drug including supplements and vitamins.

In addition to that, Angioedema patients must be careful not to have a close contact with known allergens. In both cases of the common and hereditary forms of Angioedema, triggers are established and it could make such a difference on how you deal with those triggers. Make sure that you work closely with your doctor to tackle this problem. Being properly monitored by a qualified professional has so much to do in preventing a severe episode of Angioedema.
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Medication commonly used for these disease:

drugs Angioedema drugs