Angioedema is something in which a swelling takes place in the skin’s inner layer and under that, and it may become severe. Sometimes, the swelling comes with the appearance of hives. Therefore, it is sometimes referred to as “giant hives.”
These hives are itchy and red colored, raised welts that develop on the surface of the skin, typically involving only the two skin layers. Urticaria is another word for hives.
Both hives and angioedema are caused by an allergic reaction or food intolerance, a side effect to a medication, or an allergy causing agent in the surrounding environment, for example pollen, pet dander, and venom from insect bites.
At times, the swelling is a symptom of a more serious health condition, such as non-Hodgkin B-cell lymphoma. There are some parts of the body which are more prone to angioedema than others for e.g. the eyelids, lips, and tongue.
When angioedema condition is passed from one generation to other through genetic transmission, the condition is referred to as hereditary angioedema. Compared to acquired angioedema, hereditary angioedema has different causes.
What are the symptoms of angioedema?
The typical symptom of angioedema is shown with swelling on skin with a red rash. It takes place in a localized area on or near the eyes, feet, hands, or lips.In worst cases, the swelling can spread to other areas of the body. Other additional symptoms of angioedema include abdominal cramping. People with angioedema may also get a hoarseness, swollen throat, and difficulty breathing. Angioedema may or may not itch.
You should visit an emergency room immediately if you are having trouble breathing because this may be a sign of a serious health condition that requires prompt treatment.
What causes angioedema?
The following allergens can trigger angioedema:
• Insect Bites
• Poison Oak Or Ivy
• Animal Dander
• Certain Types Of Foods
Certain medications or an infection or illness, such as lupus (SLE) or leukemia can also result into non-allergic angioedema.These would be examples of acquired angioedema.
Hereditary angioedema happens toindividuals with a family history because of an inherited genetic mutation.
Who is at risk for angioedema?
If you are undergoing any of the following condition, it can increase your risk of developing angioedema:
• A previous allergic reaction
• A previous occurrence of angioedema or hives
• Sudden temperature changes
• Stress or anxiety
• A family history of angioedema or hives
• Certain medical conditions
How is angioedema diagnosed?
A physical examination will be performed by your doctor and you will have to answer a set of questions based on your symptoms and past medical history. During the exam, your doctor will examine your areas of swelling and your welts, if present. They may also see if your throat has been affected by listening to your breathing.