Face | Allergy & Immunology | Angioedema, Swelling of Skin, Lips, Eyes (Disease)
Angioedema, Swelling of Skin, Lips, Eyes: Description
Angioedema is a condition in which the mucous membranes and tissues under the skin suddenly become swollen. The face and neck are usually affected.
The main symptoms are: swelling of any part of the body, most commonly the face, lips, and genitals, sudden difficulty in breathing, speaking, or swallowing due to swelling of the tongue, mouth, and airways, an itchy rash affecting areas that are not swollen. Other symptoms may include: abdominal cramping and breathing difficulty.
Angioedema may occur at the same time as anaphylaxis, a potentially fatal allergic reaction that requires urgent medical attention. Mild symptoms may not need treatment. Moderate to severe symptoms may need treatment. Breathing difficulty is an emergency condition.
Causes and Risk factors
Angioedema may be caused by an allergic reaction. During the reaction, histamine and other chemicals are released into the bloodstream. The body releases histamine when the immune system detects a foreign substance called an allergen. In many cases, the cause of angioedema is never found. The following may cause angioedema: animal dander, exposure to water, sunlight, cold or heat, foods (such as berries, shellfish, fish, nuts, eggs, milk, and others), insect bites, medications (drug allergy), such as antibiotics (penicillin and sulfa drugs), nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs, and blood pressure medicines, pollen. Hives and angioedema may also occur after infections or with other illnesses (including autoimmune disorders such as lupus, leukemia and lymphoma).
Angioedema, Swelling of Skin, Lips, Eyes: Treatment and Diagnosis
Cool compresses or soaks can provide pain relief. Medications used to treat angioedema include: Antihistamines, Anti-inflammatory medicines (corticosteroids) and Epinephrine. A form of angioedema runs in families and has different triggers, complications, and treatments. This is called hereditary angioedema