Angioedema: what it is, why it happens and treatment

Angioedema is a disease that causes the appearance of swelling in the deepest layer of the skin, especially on the lips, hands, feet, eyes or genital region, which can last up to 3 days.

Depending on the cause of angioedema there are 3 main types, which include:

  • Hereditary angioedema: it arises from birth and can pass from parents to children due to changes in genes. Learn how to identify and treat Hereditary Angioedema ;
  • Allergic angioedema: caused after contact with allergic substances, such as peanuts or dust, for example;
  • Idiopathic angioedema: there is no specific cause for angioedema, but it can arise in situations of stress or infection, for example;
  • Remedy angioedema: caused by the side effects of medicines for high blood pressure, such as Amlodipine and Losartan.

Angioedema is curable when it is caused by an allergic reaction or by taking medications, however, in other cases, it cannot be cured and, therefore, situations that provoke its onset should be avoided.

How to treat or angioedema

Treatment for angioedema should be guided by a dermatologist and usually varies according to the type of angioedema, and in cases of allergic, idiopathic or drug-induced angioedema it is done with the ingestion of antihistamines, such as Cetirizine or Fexofenadine , and corticosteroid drugs, such as Prednisone, for example.

The treatment of hereditary angioedema should be done with drugs that prevent the development of angioedema over time, such as Danazol, Tranexamic acid or Icatibanto. In addition, it is recommended to avoid situations that may cause angioedema.

Symptoms of angioedema

The main symptom of angioedema is swelling of the skin in various parts of the body that lasts up to 3 days and does not cause itching, however other symptoms include:

  • Sensation of heat in the affected region;
  • Pain in the swelling sites;
  • Difficulty breathing.

In the most severe cases, angioedema can also cause swelling of the intestine or throat, causing cramps, diarrhea or difficulty breathing.

In addition, if angioedema is not treated properly, symptoms of anaphylactic shock, such as sweating or itching, may appear. See other symptoms at: Anaphylactic shock symptoms .

When to go to the doctor

It is advisable to go immediately to the emergency room when it appears:

  • Feeling of tightness in the chest;
  • Too much trouble breathing;
  • Swelling of the tongue or throat.

In these cases, if the patient has an injection of adrenaline for anaphylactic shock at home, prescribed by the doctor, he should inject it while waiting for medical help.

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