Angioedema is swelling of soft tissue under the skin. In contrast to hives with angioedema in the facial area, this type of angioedema does not have hives. It also lasts longer than a day compared to the "come and go" characteristics of angioedema with hives. Its lesions usually occur in the soft tissue area like in the face, lips, tongue, hands, hip, groins, knees, penis, scrotum... It may involve the abdomen and throat causing severe abdominal pain and dangerous difficulty breathing in case of hereditary or acquired angioedema. Beside hereditary and acquired angioedema, and autoimmune diseases, medications such as some blood pressure drugs, pain medications like aspirin and NSAID, and birth control medications can also cause angioedema. In many cases, the etiologies are unknown and are called idiopathic. It also does not due to common allergic reactions so it will not response to regular treatment that are seen with hives like antihistamine or glucocorticosteroids. In cases of throat closing, epinephrine autoinjector will not work as seen in case of anaphylaxis. If untreated, the swelling will subside gradually over two to three days without medications. However, it would be dangerous for untreated cases involving the throat or laryngeal area.
If you or your family have or suspect of having this condition, please stop by to discuss with us to see how we could help. Proper diagnosis of this condition would prevent unnecessary ER visit trips and the anxiety of using epinephrine auto injector and corticosteroids unnecessarily.