Quincke Edema

Quincke edema or quincke's edema is another common name of angioedema. Quincke edema is the rapid swelling of the human skin resulting in the swelling of dermis, subcutaneous tissue, mucosa, and submucosal tissues. Usually, the swelling lasts a few hours and does not threaten the life of the patient. However, if the swelling progresses rapidly, it can block the upper airway and result in suffocation, in which case the patient should seek medical attention immediately. Epinephrine is a life saving drug in cases of acquired angioedema, but it is not very effective in familial angioedema.

The most common and obvious symptom is swelling, which can develop abruptly on the eyes, lips, tongue, and throat. However, it is not limited to these areas only, and any other part of the body can also be affected, such as the hands and feet. The swelling may result in itching, burning sensation, and pain. Urticaria (hives) may also develop along with it. Sometimes, the patient may also have difficulty breathing.

Quincke edema can be caused by many factors: allergies (e.g. pollen or food allergy), drugs (e.g. NSAIDS, aspirin, blood pressure medicines, ibuprofen, and other antibiotics), insect bites, hair dyes, any other underling diseases (e.g. Hodgkin, leukemia, lupus) or it can be simply a hereditary disease.

There are two types of Quincke edema: Acquired Quincke edema and Hereditary Quincke edema. As apparent by their names, the first one occurs in response to allergies and other factors, while the second one is a familial problem.

When trying to treat acquired Quincke edema, epinephrine has been very successful, but it does not treat hereditary Quincke edema as successfully. For a proper diagnosis, you may have an allergy test done by a professional. Urine and blood tests are helpful in determining whether you have Quincke edema. Antihistamines and certain other therapies are also quite helpful. One thing to bear in mind is not to take any other drug when you are suffering with Quincke edema.


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