About the Angioedema Specialist

Angioedema is a condition that develops, often in response to an allergen. Because of its potential consequences, it is important for those suffering from it to consult an angioedema specialist. This angioedema specialist would be in a good position to diagnose the condition, to determine what its triggers and causes were, and to formulate an effective treatment plan for it.

So what exactly qualifies a medical doctor to be an angioedema specialist? And how would you go about finding one? First of all, it is important to note that a condition like angioedema is addressed by different sub-fields of medicine, so it is possible for medical doctors working in different fields of specialization to be angioedema specialists.

Who can be an Angioedema Specialist?

Many angioedema specialists are dermatologists. This is easy to understand. Dermatologists are medical doctors who treat patients of all ages for skin disorders, some STDs, and disorders of the nails, hair, and mouth. The primary focus of dermatologists is the skin. Hence, they treat both allergic and non-allergic conditions of the skin. A dermatologist who has plenty of experience treating patients with allergies is bound to come across patients who suffer from angioedema and urticaria often. Hence, he or she will come to recognize various manifestations of these conditions and will learn to see patterns and connections where other medical doctors might miss them.

Dermatologists can be a great resource for angioedema patients because they are often the first medical professionals consulted by those suffering from the condition. These patients may not know what exactly they have or why, but they can see that it affects the deeper layers of their skin. If a dermatologist is consulted under these circumstances and turns out to be an angioedema specialist, well and good. If not, the dermatologist can always refer the patient to another medical professional who he or she feels is better equipped to address the problem.

Other medical specialists who may be highly qualified to treat angioedema are allergy and immunology specialists. These are medical professionals whose training and experience have prepared them to deal with a variety of allergic and immune issues. Angioedema falls under their purview. Hence, they often have the knowledge and know-how to give angioedema patients great medical support. Pediatricians are also often consulted as angioedema specialists. Because their focus is the health of children, they have been exposed to a wide range of children’s illnesses and conditions. This makes them versatile and often equips them with broad understanding of the disease process and its connections with allergies and immunological processes.



Urticaria and Joint Pain

According to, having urticaria and joint pain, along with fever, is not typical. These symptoms are a sign of a different condition called urticarial vasculitis. In urticarial vasculitis the inflamed and reddened patches or weals that appear on the skin resemble urticaria, but when examined under a microscope vasculitis (inflamed blood vessels) is found. This is important to know because treatment for urticarial vasculitis is quite different.

Normally, the first symptom to manifest itself in urticarial vasculitis is an urticarial eruption that is painful and is often described as a burning sensation. Itching has also been reported. Lesions are red patches with a white centre and petechiae, meaning small spots of bleeding under the skin, may appear. Bruise-like patches and darkening of the skin may also manifest (, 2011).

Along with urticaria and joint pain symptoms, photosensitivity, swollen lymph nodes, abdominal pain, difficulty breathing, and lung and kidney problems may occur. is a website that educates on various skin conditions. It states that the cause of urticarial vasculitis is still unknown and most of the time remains idiopathic. However, it has been associated with the following conditions:

  • Inflammatory connective disorders such as lupus
  • Immunoglobulin disorders
  • Leukemia and internal cancers
  • Viral diseases such as hepatitis B and C
  • Drug induced conditions


Urticaria Abdominal Pain


As stated above urticaria accompanied by abdominal pain can be a sign of urticarial vasculitis as well. However, it is most likely a sign of a condition called angioedema. Angioedema is like hives, except the swelling occurs underneath the skin. This occurs when the capillaries dilate and leak fluid deeper into the skin. The abdominal pain is caused by swelling of the lining of the stomach and intestines. Angioedema also causes swelling of the lips and larynx, causing hoarseness and shortness of breath (, 2011).

Other symptoms of this condition, provided by, include:

  • Puffiness of the face, eyelids, ears, mouth, hands, feet, and genitalia
  • Swelling that usually affects one side of the body or more one side than the other
  • A sensation of fullness or discomfort in the swelled area(s)
  • Slight redness of the skin can occur, though not always


Angioedema occurs in about half of the people with hives. It can be easily treated, if discovered early. If you are experiencing abdominal pain with urticaria, you should speak to your doctor. It is important to understand that, if it turns out to be angioedema, it should be taken seriously. This is because the swelling that causes breathing difficulty can become so severe that a tube may need to be placed in the throat to keep the airway open. Breathing difficulty is an emergency situation in which immediate medical help should be sought.

Idiopathic Angioedema Treatment

Idiopathic angioedema treatment is a well-documented medical science. However, given that there are multiple forms of angioedema, and variances in the symptoms and severity across cases, these treatments may vary in effectiveness and safety of use. Angioedema is also known as “hives” commonly, and is characteristic for the acute swelling of the skin and the often red, itchy and irritated blotches which can occur beside it. The irritation is known as urticaria, and is very common in cases of angioedema.

Agioedema is categorized under three common forms. The first is acquired angioedema, which is brought on in any number of people when a drug reaction or a common irritant causes the swelling and potential urticaria. This is one of the more common forms of angioedema and is one that any individual may be at risk of experiencing some time in their life.

Hereditary angioedema is when the illness runs in the family, and often the stimulus to induce the symptoms is common between generations, though not always. There are any number of stimuli which can bring about the symptoms when the illness is hereditary. While some allergic reactions resulting in angioedema are acquired, many allergies are also hereditary, making allergic angioedema one of the more common ways hereditary forms of the illness may manifest.

There is however a third category of angioedema, called idiopathic angioedema. This form of the illness occurs when no specific stimulus or genesis of the illness has been documented with clarity in a patient. Sadly, this is a common form of angioedema, and without knowing the cause and nature of it, it is more difficult to treat in the long run.

However, like the other forms of angioedema, idiopathic angioedema treatment is possible, at least when symptoms flare up. Like with many allergic reactions, C1 inhibitors can be synthesized which can help reduce the swelling. The body produces some number of C1 inhibitor on its own for this purpose, but sometimes it’s insufficient. Other cases may simply require using agents to reduce the rate the body uses its existing C1 inhibitors.

In acute cases, doses of epinephrine have been documented to work well on multiple forms of angioedema. First used to treat severe allergic reactions, it has also been known to stimulate a reversal of symptoms more broadly with the illness.

In less severe cases, over the counter supplements which contain epinephrine can be used to treat minor angioedema.

Hereditary angioedema treatment, acquired angioedema treatment and general treatment for angioedema has benefited greatly from continued testing and application of epinephrine.

When Should Medical Help be Sought?

Very acute cases of angioedema, in which the eyes have been swollen shut, or the larynx is being constricted should be taken to an emergency medical practitioner immediately. However, lesser cases which only cause minor swelling that does not inhibit the patient’s ability to function are less serious and can probably be dealt with through an epinephrine-containing supplement. However, one should consult a physician before starting either regular or emergency use of any supplement for this purpose.

Any case of angioedema which lasts longer than six hours without symptoms abating, regardless its severity, should be dealt with by a physician immediately.

Idiopathic Urticaria Angioedema

Idiopathic urticaria angioedema is a form of a very common illness experienced by countless people across the world. Angioedema is commonly called hives, and exists in many many forms. Some of the common and well-documented forms of angioedema include hereditary and acquired.

Acquired angioedema occurs when symptoms are caused by a common irritant that most people are prone to, such as drug reactions or other chemical irritants. Hereditary angioedema also requires some form of stimulus for the symptoms to occur, but has a genetic history within one’s family.

One common link between almost all forms of angioedema are its symptoms, which include swelling of the skin, itchiness and irritation, and other similar issues. Side effects of this swelling and irritation abound as well, and can result in temporary blindness due to the inability to open the eyes, trouble breathing, and even a lack of ability to move in more acute cases.

In the event that the larynx (or commonly, the throat area) is being constricted, this can be a potentialyl fatal problem which requires immediate medical attention. However, in many cases, even acute angioedema can be waited out, unless the symptoms exceed six hours. Past this point, there needs to be medical assistance acquired regardless.

Uticaria angioedema is the form of the illness in which red, exceptionally irritated skin is one of the primary symptoms of this illness. Due to the itchiness of the skin, one must treat the need to scratch it immediately. Like other skin irritations, scratching and rubbing at the itch can result in further irritation or damage of the skin. In very mild cases of angioedema, a simple topical solution to reduce the itching and sensitivity is a good first measure to prevent this particular side effect. However, don’t use a topical analgesic without having first consulted with your physician.

Idiopathic forms of this illness are more problematic. The term “idiopathic” means that it is of, pertaining to or designating a disease with no definite known cause. In other words, sufferers of idiopathic angioedema have cases where the stimuli are not definitely known. This is exceptionally dangerous in situations where the symptoms are particularly acute, obviously. According to some journals, some 50% of angioedema cases are idiopathic at this time.

Living with Angioedema and Urticaria

In living with the symptoms of angioedema and urticaria, one should be proactive. If the disease is idiopathic in one’s case, then avoiding known irritants that are common among non-idiopathic cases is a good place to start. While the idiopathic nature of the case means these are not definite stimuli, they also can’t be ruled out.

Having a good medical workup with one’s physician is an excellent idea, because if the symptoms are acute, then they will be able to treat the symptoms much more effectively in a hospital when they occur. There do exist very effective treatments to keep the symptoms from becoming fatal and eventually, in most cases, get the swelling and irritation to begin to reverse.

Urticaria and angioedema are often problems that go hand in hand, so it’s also important to know the best ways, in mild cases, to treat swelling in flesh as well as irritation. Again, though, one should always consult their physician before trying a new remedy for the skin irritation or swelling that these illnesses bring about. One can not be too careful!

In any case of urticaria and angioedema, if the swelling lasts longer than six hours, medical help should be sought immediately.

Hereditary Angioedema Treatment

Hereditary angioedema treatment is not something that is a simple black and white answer to a problem. This is due to the fact that this is a very common illness which can affect people in just about any group imaginable. Obviously the most telltale sign of a risk of a hereditary illness is family history, and any child born into a family prone to the illness should be tested for it at an early age.

Hereditary angioedema is one of several forms of angeioedema which can occur in the human body, all having similar symptoms but somewhat unique causes. The other primary type of angioedema is called “acquired angioedema”. The acquired form is more of a symptom of a greater problem, due to an irritant or universal allergen being introduced into the body’s system. Common examples of this are drug reactions and some chemical or dust particulate reactions that are well-documented.

The symptoms of most forms of angioedema are the swelling of the epidermis (or outer layer of skin) in the face or other parts of the body. Common side effects of this can be difficulty breathing, the swelling shut of orifices, and in more severe cases lack of mobility. In facial angioedema, one of the more common ways it manifests, it’s not uncommon for the eyes and sometimes mouth to swell to where they can not open. In some cases, swelling can occur in the throat as well, constricting the larynx, which is potentially quite fatal.

Now, the big difference with hereditary angioedema is that it is due to an allergy a person genetically has, or a sensitivity to other stimuli which a person who does not have the illness will not be susceptible to. In hereditary cases, there is usually a common, repeating stimulus in the family which causes resurgence of the symptoms.

Hereditary Angeioedema Treatments

Treatments, as said before depend on the hereditary angioedema symptoms that are being experienced, as well as some factors in body chemistry and family history. Hereditary illnesses tend to be harder to give as blanket treatment solution to due to the wide array of variables that must be dealt with.

One of the best forms of hereditary angioedema treatments are to be proactive and avoid encountering the stimulus or stimuli which may provoke the symptoms to arise. However, this is of course not always possible. One cannot hide from the world at large, and one can never be certain that all stimuli which cause the symptoms have been documented in their specific case. This can result in surprise (unpleasant) discovery of a new irritant factor at any time.

In cases where the symptoms are particularly severe and even life threatening, medical assistance is tantamount. Most physicians will use a method of synthesizing C1 inhibitors, a substance the body usually to fight such severe swelling. In some cases, they can introduce medications which can actually prevent the rapid consumption of the body’s natural C1 inhibitors as well.

While there is no magical cure to eradicate the disease, or make the symptoms suddenly vanish, most medical facilities are very well-equipped to fight severe outbreaks of angioedema swelling in hereditary or acquired cases. However, in daily life, the most practical thing is to be cautious and to know what stimuli are known to cause one’s outbreaks in the first place.

Being proactive is often the best medicine in daily living.

Facial Angioedema

Facial angioedema is a form of swelling caused in the epidermis, or the top layer of the human skin. This illness is caused in one of two ways, and for each of these there is in fact a specific name. Acquired facial angioedema is caused by allergic reactions to outside stimuli, and is one of the common symptoms of many food or skin allergies with which people suffer.

However, allergic reactions are not the only cause of this illness, as it can also be genetic if passed by the dominant gene in pairing. Regardless of the cause of this illness though, the symptoms of it are fairly identical across the board, and depending on person and severity of the cause, can vary in level of seriousness.

Facial angioedema symptoms are fairly easy to detect, allowing response time to the illness to be fairly quick once one knows what to look for. A common case of facial angioedema swelling will result in puffed skin on the face, often in the cheeks and eyelids. Someoen suffering from this swelling may be unable to either open or close their mouth to speak, and often cannot open their eyes during the height of the swelling.

The severity of this illness comes not from the swelling effect of the skin itself, but rather what can be a side effect of this swelling. Temporary blindness due to the inability to open one’s eyes is not only alarming and unpleasant, but can be downright dangerous for many reasons. This can render a person unable to function normally for periods of time, and can be quite distressing as well.

Another problem can be the inability to eat or take in fluids, if the swelling has caused troubles using the mouth. Dehydration or lack of sufficient nutrition can be a result of prolonged facial angioedema, and are not something to be taken lightly in that scenario. A related side effect of swelling around the mouth can be some difficulty breathing, which if severe enough is far more dangerous than dehydration or lack of nutrition.

Reaction to facial angioedema swelling depends on the patient’s history, and how long the current instance of swelling has taken place. Acquired facial angioedema is the result of allergic reactions, and is something to be addressed immediately as the allergy may have other problems alongside the swelling that can be more serious yet.

For patients with genetic facial angioedema, it depends more on the aforementioned history of the patient. If they have a history of prolonged swelling when symptoms flare up, then it’s important to be proactive and respond immediately when the patient shows signs of swelling. However, if the patient is prone to very short-lived swelling on occasion, due to a milder case of the illness, then less concern is necessary.

Treating facial angioedema swelling

In cases of allergic or acquired facial angeioedema swelling, the treatment is usually to address the allergy or irritant itself, rather than the swelling. Considering the allergy is the cause of the swelling, this should eventually remedy the problem.

However, when it comes to hereditary swelling, the treatment is a bit more direct to the swelling itself. The swelling is still due to some form of stimuli (external cause), as it can’t just randomly happen for no reason on its own. This is a case of knowing a patient’s history, and avoiding the stimuli known to cause swelling relapses in the patient.

No two patients are identical, as the human body is a diverse and complicated machine. It is best to consult a doctor whenever hereditary swelling occurs, as they are the best equipped to determine which stimuli may have caused it, and what to do to address these in the future.

What are the Differences and Similarities Between Dermographism and Angioedema?

If you are confused between the two similar but different diseases; dermographism and hives, this post will clear up the confusion. By understanding the differences between these two, you will be better equipped when choosing dermographism treatment or angioedema treatment.

Let us first get to know the similarities between the two diseases : dermographism and angioedema are both skin problems with similar triggers e.g. extreme temperatures, allergies, pressure, stress, and have they both have similar treatments.

Sometimes, they accompany each other but usually they outbreak seperately.

The major differences between these two are: dermographism is a subtype of hives(urticaria), whereas angioedema is a different disease. Dermographism is itchy, while angioedema is characterized by painless swelling. Angioedema can be deadly but dermographism is only painful. Angioedema is mostly a hereditary problem while dermographism is usually acquired.

What are the Differences and Similarities Between Hives and Angioedema?

It doesn’t matter if you are suffering from hives or angioedema, neither one is a pleasant experience. Many patients feel desperate and hopeless. However, if you learn the basics of these diseases and how to treat them properly, you can make your life much easier.

Let us first consider the differences: angioedema is deep inside the skin and usually not visible with naked eye, whereas hives are on the dermis or upper layer of the skin. Hives rashes are itchy while angioedema swelling is not itchy, but can be painful in some cases.

Angioedema can be lethal, but hives do not threaten the patient’s life. As far as the similarities are concerned, both of these diseases have pretty similar triggers and causes e.g. allergies, pressure, stress, extreme temperatures as well as similar treatment

Do read my next post equating dermographism and angioedema which will be here in the upcoming week.

What are the Differences and Similarities Between Urticaria and Angioedema?

The two most feared diseases related to skin are undoubtedly urticaria and angioedema. Though there are many similarities between these two, there are some major differences between them. Certain symptoms, help in distinguishing between them, and can be beneficial in the urticaria treatment as well as angioedema treatment.

Let us first consider the differences: urticaria is on the dermis or upper layer of the skin, whereas angioedema is deep inside. Urticaria wheals are itchy while angioedema swelling is not itchy but can be painful in some cases. Angioedema can be deadly but urticaria does not threaten the patient’s life. As far as the similarities are concerned, both the disease have pretty similar triggers and causes e.g. allergies, pressure, stress, extreme temperatures. Their treatments are also similar to some extent.

Next weeks post will be about hives and dermographism with some amazing surprises.

What are the Steps To Follow When Angioedema Swelling Becomes Intolerable?

As promised earlier, today’s post is about some simple steps which can be helpful when battling angioedema. Usually angioedema swelling is painless, but when it is painful it can be literally intolerable. Let us see what steps can help reduce the pain.

If you are in the middle of angioedema treatment, but the swelling is getting out of control, try to cool down the affected area and if there is difficulty in breathing, go out in the open, fresh air and take large slow breaths. You may take H1 antagonists with antihistamines. In case of acquired angioedema, epinephrine has proven itself to be a lifesaving drug.

Everyone wants to learn the similarities and differences between two analogous diseases; the post next week will explain the comparison between hives and urticaria, a must read for patients.

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