Autoimmune Angioedema - Stress Angioedema

This article describes two different subtypes of angioedema: autoimmune angioedema and stress angioedema. For better understanding, let me divide this article into two sections: first one describing autoimmune whereas the second one about stress angioedema.

Autoimmune angioedema is a skin problem found in patients that develop angioedema in response to an autoimmune trigger, i.e. certain antibodies. Mast cells are widespread in the skin and contain certain fluids. They basically act as a defensive mechanism in our bodies against the disorders. When they are disturbed by an autoimmune trigger or an allergen, they release fluid called histamine into the skin which causes swelling or angioedema. The swelling usually occurs on the face i.e. near eyes and lips that is why it is sometimes referred to as facial angioedema.

Certain drugs i.e. antihistamines can be ingested by the patient to counter the effects of release of histamine by the mast cells. The patient should avoid allergens and triggers that may result in an autoimmune angioedema. However, if you have already developed it, consulting a qualified doctor is the best option.

Stress angioedema is caused by sudden stress or tension which may cause an increase in the body temperature of the patient. If this is the case with you and you develop a sudden swelling usually around lips and eyes or in some cases on tongue and throat, it is time to find ways to relax and relieve tension or your skin problems will aggravate. However, you should also consider certain medical treatments as well for temporary relief e.g. antihistamines.

Sometimes people who are suffering from stress angioedema can develop it even when they are calm and relaxed. It might sound weird but there is a logical reason to this, and the reason is that emotional stress can provoke certain long lasting immunological changes which may continue even when you are not stressed out. In this case, you may get angioedema even when you are not under stress.


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