Chronic Angioedema - Allergic Angioedema

This article describes two extremely troublesome subtypes of angioedema: Chronic angioedema and allergic angioedema. For a better and simpler understanding I will divide this guide into two parts: first one explaining chronic and second allergic angioedema.

The simplest definition of angioedema, would be that at best it is a painful, ugly looking swelling lasting up to a few hours and at worst it can be a lethal disease. It is characterized by the rapid swelling of dermis and is similar in many ways to hives however it is a different disease. In some cases these do diseases may coexists and overlaps as well.

Recurring angioedema or chronic angioedema, a common form of angioedema, will keep haunting you i.e. it usually stays for more than six weeks and reappears twice a week. Usually the causes of chronic angioedema are idiopathic i.e. unknown, even after extensive testing by the doctor i.e. in case of Idiopathic Urticaria Angioedema.

Chronic angioedema is characterized by the rapid swelling that usually occurs around eyes or lips and keeps recurring. However, in severe cases the tongue and throat of the patient may also get swelled up. This can result in the blockage of upper airway and cause suffocation, therefore, should be treated as a medical emergency.

Allergic angioedema occurs in response to several allergies including pollen allergy, skin allergy or even food allergy. People with hereditary or chronic angioedema need to avoid these allergies but unluckily this is not an easy job. The reason is that allergens are present all around us, in the air we breathe in, the water we drink etc.

Certain drugs e.g. Beta blockers, ACE-inhibitors Aspirin and NSAIDs and many food items e.g. wheat, eggs, peanuts can also act as allergen. These drugs must be avoided by the patient and a comprehensive list can be prepared with the help of a professional doctor. Food elimination i.e. avoiding certain type of foods and then monitoring the results, then repeating this routine with other types of foods can be a great help but it is a time consuming practice.


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