What is angioedema?

Angioedema is a condition that causes puffiness in the tissue under the skin. People with angioedema might have swelling of the face, eyelids, ears, mouth, tongue, hands, feet, or genitals. Some people who get angioedema also get hives. Hives are red, raised patches of skin that are very itchy.

Sometimes, people have symptoms of angioedema when they are having a dangerous allergic reaction. Call for 9-1-1 if you suddenly have puffiness or hives plus any of the following:

  • Trouble breathing
  • Tightness in the throat
  • Trouble swallowing your saliva
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Cramps or stomach pain
  • Passing out

Why did I get angioedema?

A common cause of angioedema is allergies. If you just got angioedema for the first time, it might be because you have a new allergy to something. Allergies to the following things can cause angioedema:

  • Medicines such as antibiotics, over the counter medication for pain for fever (aspirin, Ibuprofen), medication to treat high blood pressure or heart disease called angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors (Lisinopril, Enalapril,Captopril) .
  • Insect stings
  • Foods, such as eggs, nuts, fish, or shellfish
  • Something the person with angioedema touched, such as a plant, animal saliva, or latex
  • Exercise
  • Angioedema can also be caused by rare diseases that sometimes run in families. An example is hereditary angioedema. In this disease, people get repeated attacks of angioedema, belly pain, or swelling in the throat.

How is angioedema treated?

The treatment depends on how serious the symptoms are. If you get angioedema because of a dangerous allergic reaction, you will need to be treated in a hospital right away.

If your symptoms are mild, you might not need treatment. But you should try to figure out if anything triggered your symptoms. If so, you will need to avoid that trigger.

Your doctor might recommend that you take medicines called antihistamines or steroids, if angioedema was caused by a medication then your doctor should switch you to a different medication.

Call for an Appointment Today!

If asthma or allergies make your life unpleasant, the Allergy and Asthma Center of North Carolina can help you.

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