Acute Angioedema - Allergy Angioedema

This article describes two common subtypes of angioedema: Acute Angioedema and Allergy Angioedema. For a better and simpler understanding, I will divide this guide into two parts: the first one explains acute and the second, allergy angioedema.

The definition of angioedema, also known as quincke edema, is a painful swelling, usually lasting up to a few hours and, at worst, it can be a lethal disease. It typically is characterized by the rapid swelling of dermis (usually around eyes and lips) and is similar in many ways to hives; however, it is a different disease. In some cases, these two diseases may coexist and overlap as well.

Acute angioedema, a common form of angioedema, is a milder form of angioedema. It is often caused by underlying allergies and triggered by certain allergens. However, it does not last very long and vanishes by itself, within a few hours after its outbreak. The causes of acute angioedema can be clarified by visiting a doctor.

Acute angioedema is characterized by the rapid swelling, which usually occurs around the eyes or lips and lasts for a few hours. In  severe cases, the tongue and throat of the patient may also become swollen. This can result in the blockage of the upper airway and cause suffocation, in which case medical attention should be sought immediately.

Allergy angioedema occurs in response to different allergies, such as pollen allergy, skin allergy or even food allergy. Individuals, especially those  with hereditary angioedema need to avoid these allergens; however, this may not be easy. The reason is that allergens are present all around us, in the air we breathe as well as in the water we drink.

Certain drugs, such as beta blockers, ACE-inhibitors, Aspirin, and NSAIDs, along with many food items, such as wheat, eggs, and peanuts can also act as allergens and trigger allergy angioedema. These foods and drugs must be avoided by the patient once an allergy has been determined by a doctor. 


P.S. (from Dr. Gary M. Levin, M.D. & Surgeon)
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