ANGIOEDEMA- Overview, Facts, Types,Diagnosis, Medication, Etc


Angioedema is an abrupt inflammation of the area beneath the skin called the mucosa. All body parts may be affected, but swelling usually takes place around the eye and lip area. Usually, it is not that dangerous, but it can be a persisting problem for some people and can sometimes be life-threatening as it affects breathing. The intestines and the upper respiratory tract’s internal lining may also be damaged, which results in severe cases. Its duration usually lasts between one to two days.


Swelling usually takes place in the:

  • Hands
  • Feet
  • Eye area
  • Lips and tongue
  • Genitals

Such swelling may or may not be itchy but can be painful, tender, or burning. In extreme cases, inflammation of the throat and tongue may cause difficulty in breathing. At the same time, the inflammation of the intestinal tract lining may cause gastrointestinal pain and cramps.


It can be helpful to keep track of a detailed medical history of the patient with symptoms of Angioedema. It is done by keeping a journal where exposure to possible irritants is indicated. It is also essential to inform a doctor about your medications, including the over-the-counter drugs and herbal medicines you take. A family history of skin rash and allergies is also essential to indicate in the journal.

Skin prick testing may be conducted to identify any allergens. If symptoms point to hereditary angioedema, blood tests may be performed to check certain complement blood proteins’ levels and function.



There are also different types of Angioedema, and their diagnosis varies. It is important to know what caused one’s angioedema because it determines what kind of treatment he/she needs.

  • Allergic Angioedema

This is caused by a food allergy, drug-induced urticaria, radiocontrast media, insect venoms, or natural rubber latex. Suppose the patient shows symptoms of allergic angioedema. In that case, he may be advised to undergo a skin prick test and blood test to determine whether the immune system reacts to a suspected allergen.

  • Non-Allergic Drug Reaction

This may be caused by an angiotensin-converting enzyme or ACE inhibitors, or arachidonic acid metabolism, the cascade of effects via kinin production, and nitric oxide generation.

  • Idiopathic/Chronic Angioedema

In this type of angioedema, the cause is usually unknown, while 30-50% of this type may be related to certain types of autoimmune disorders.

This is caused by an inherited or acquired gene that causes the insufficiency of normal blood protein. It occurs in 1 in every 50 000 males and females.

  • Acquired C1 Inhibitor Deficiency

This type of angioedema is acquired, not inherited. It may be caused by B-cell lymphoma or antibodies against the C1 inhibitor.

  • Vibratory Angioedema

This is a form of chronic inductive urticaria. Localized vibratory urticaria may also be caused by a vibratory stimulus and is different from vibratory angioedema, thus needing a different treatment.

However, the inflammation may generally subside by itself after a few days, but some treatments can help it get better fast and may lessen the risk of recurring. Treatments for angioedema depends on the seriousness of the condition. Some are treated with antihistamines or steroid medicine. In contrast, drug-induced and hereditary angioedema may be treated by changing to a different medicine or administering treatments that can help prevent swelling when it occurs.

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