Angioedema - Medic Quotes
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Tuesday, June 18, 2019


Angioedema is a swelling that often results from an allergic reaction. This condition is usually not dangerous. However, in rare cases, angioedema can cause the sufferer to breathe, because swelling occurs in the respiratory tract.

In some cases, angioedema sufferers also experience urticaria or biduran . Both conditions look the same. The difference is that swelling in angioedema occurs in the lower layers of the skin. While swelling in biduran occurs on the surface of the skin.

Symptoms of Angioedema

The main symptom in people with angioedema is swelling under the skin surface. This swelling is caused by a buildup of fluid in the inner skin layer, and can occur in several body parts such as the area around the eyes, lips, tongue, hands, feet and genitals. In severe cases, swelling can also occur in the inside of the throat and stomach.

Swelling due to angioedema usually does not cause itching. But in idiopathic angioedema and allergic angioedema , swelling can be accompanied by hives or urticaria, which feels itchy.

A number of other symptoms that can occur include :

  • Heat and pain sensation, in areas that have swelling.
  • Shortness of breath, due to swelling in the throat and lungs.
  • Red eye, due to swelling in the conjunctiva (the clear membrane lining the front of the eye).

In someone who has angioedema due to heredity, other symptoms that can appear are :

  • Difficulty urinating, due to swelling in the bladder or urinary tract (urethra).
  • Abdominal pain, due to swelling in the stomach and intestines. This condition can lead to diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

Immediately see a doctor if you experience symptoms of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylaxis), such as swelling in the tongue and throat which results in complaints of hoarseness, wheezing to shortness of breath.

Causes of Angioedema

The causes of angioedema vary, depending on the type of angioedema experienced, including:

Allergic angioedema

This angioedema results from an allergic reaction, including :

  • Food allergies, especially nuts, shellfish, milk and eggs.
  • Drug allergies, such as antibiotics, aspirin, and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) .
  • Allergy due to insect bites, like bees.
  • Allergy to latex, a type of rubber that is used as material for rubber gloves, balloons, or condoms.

Drug-induced angioedema

A person can develop angioedema due to the use of certain drugs, even if he does not have a drug allergy. Swelling can appear shortly after using the drug, it can also appear several months or years later.
Some types of drugs are :

  • Nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), such as ibuprofen.
  • Hypertension drugs for ACE inhibitors , for example ramipril, perindopril, and lisinopril.
  • ARB hypertension drugs, including valsartan, losartan, and irbesartan.

Hereditary angioedema

This type of angioedema is caused by a lack of C1-esterase inhibitors in the blood. This protein plays an important role in maintaining the immune system. This lack of protein makes the immune system turn to attack the body and cause symptoms of angioedema.
Swelling can be triggered by a number of conditions, such as :

  • Stressful
  • Surgical or dental procedures
  • Use of birth control pills
  • Pregnancy
  • Injury or infection

Someone who suffers from this type of angioedema is at risk of reducing this disease to his child.

Idiopathic angioedema

In addition to the above factors, the majority of cases of angioedema are unknown. Experts suspect that this condition is associated with a breakdown in the immune system.
Swelling in idiopathic angioedema can be triggered by a number of conditions :

  • Stressful.
  • Wear tight clothes.
  • Exercise is too heavy.
  • The climate is too hot or too cold.
  • Consumption of alcohol, caffeine, or spicy foods.
  • Medical conditions, such as lupus or lymphoma (very rare)

Risk Factors for Angioedema

Angioedema can occur in anyone. However, a number of factors can increase a person's risk of developing angioedema, including :

  • Stress or anxiety .
  • Sudden temperature changes.
  • History of angioedema in yourself or family.
  • Have allergies, for example in food or medicine.
  • Suffering from medical conditions related to angioedema, such as lupus, lymphoma, and thyroid disease . 

Diagnosis of Angioedema

To diagnose angioedema, the doctor will see the area of ​​swelling in the patient's body, and ask what symptoms the patient is experiencing.

If the doctor suspects that the patient's angioedema is caused by an allergy, then the doctor will run an allergy test . Allergy tests can be done in two ways, namely :

  • Skin prick test. The patient's skin will be pierced with a device that has been given a little allergen (an allergenic substance), to see the patient's reaction.
  • Blood test. The patient's blood sample will be examined to see the reaction of the patient's immune system to allergens.

Blood sampling is also performed on patients suspected of having hereditary angioedema . Through examination of the patient's blood sample, the doctor can find out whether the patient lacks C1 esterase inhibiting protein.

Treatment of Angioedema

Angioedema that causes mild symptoms, is enough to be handled with self-care at home. Some treatment steps to help relieve symptoms, including :

  • Cold compresses the swollen area.
  • Wear loose clothing to prevent skin irritation.
  • Does not scratch the swollen area.

Handling of allergic angioedema and idiopathic angioedema uses the same method. One way is to avoid allergenic foods. Doctors will also prescribe antihistamine tablets and corticosteroids to relieve swelling. If the swelling lasts for several days, the doctor will inject corticosteroids .

As for patients who experience symptoms of anaphylaxis (severe allergic reactions that are life-threatening), the doctor will give an injection of adrenaline or epinephrine .
In patients with drug-induced angioedema , doctors will recommend other types of drugs, to replace the drug that triggers the symptoms. Handling with drugs is also used in patients with angioedema, to prevent and treat swelling.

Swollen prevention drugs commonly used include danazol and tranexamic acid . As for treating swelling, the doctor can prescribe a replacement drug for C1 estrase inhibitors. The drug will be given as an injection, to increase levels of C1 estarase protein in the blood.

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