Angioedema...A brief discription
Angioedema is swelling that occurs in the tissues that are just
below the surface of the skin. It is most often found around the lips and the eyes and can be compared to hives.
Hives would involve itchy welts on the surface of your skin where angioedema is swelling at a deeper
Angioedema, like hives, is usually caused by an allergic reaction of some sort. A person may
have an allergic reaction to a food or medication that leads to angioedema. When there is an allergic reaction,
the body will produce histamine which causes blood vessels to swell. There are rare cases where angioedema has
been a sign of Hodgkin's disease or leukemia.
There are two types of angioedema.
There is hereditary angioedema, or HAE and there is acquired angioedema, or AAE. Angioedema can occur quickly or
over a longer amount of time. For instance, someone may develop angioedema in moments whereas it may take
someone else hours or longer to develop angioedema.
Angioedema has been known to
effect one side of a person's body and not the other. Thankfully, most cases of angioedema are mild. In severe
cases of angioedema, the throat and tongue may swell.
What to look out
Of course, this can lead to more
serious problems. If the tongue or throat swells, the airways may be cut off. This is life threatening and will
need to be dealt with right away. There are several symptoms of angioedema that you can look out for. Any sudden
appearance of red welts around eyes, lips, hand and feet can indicate angioedema. Any burning, swollen and
painful areas may indicate angioedema. These areas may be itchy. Discolored patches on the hands, feet or face
may also indicate angioedema as well as a tight or swollen throat in rare cases.
As fore mentioned, angioedema is
usually caused by an allergic reaction, but sometimes the cause for angioedema is unknown. Foods, dyes, pollen
and other things may trigger an allergic reaction. Rarely, angioedema will be an underlying sign of Hodgkin's
disease or leukemia. People who are most at risk to experience angioedema are those who have had angioedema or
hives before, those who have had severe allergic reactions before, those undergoing some sort of procedure and
those who are experiencing some sort of stress, anxiety or sudden temperature change.
by Kate Andrews - 19/8/09