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Angioedema

Overview

Angioedema is a medical condition where there is swelling in the skin. This swelling occurs under the skin rather than on the surface.


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Causes

Angioedema is mostly caused by an allergic reaction. Sometimes it may be idiopathic in nature. The allergic reaction is due to contact with the scales of the shed skin of animals. It may also be caused due to exposure to excessive water, cold, heat or sunlight. Intake of certain food like shellfish, eggs, berries, milk, nuts and others may also lead to this disease. The patient may develop angioedema due to insect bites or pollen grain exposure. He may also develop this disease due to intake of certain kinds of medicines like sulfa drugs, penicillin, blood pressure control medicine and nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs. It may be genetical in nature and may also be due to certain diseases such as leukemia and lymphoma, etc.


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Signs & Symptoms

The patient with angioedema may have the following symptoms:-

  • The patient may complain of sudden swelling below the skin surface.
  • Some of the patients may develop welts.
  • Most of the swelling is seen around the eyes and lips.
  • Though there are patients who may suffer from swelling in the hands, throat, etc.
  • The welts are generally very painful and itchy in nature.
  • These welts turn pale if irritated.
  • The patient may also complain of abdominal cramping.
  • There may be difficulty in breathing due to swollen mouth.
  • The lines of the eyes may also swell, called chemosis.
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Prevention

You need to avoid the irritation of the affected area to prevent the swelling back of the area. Try to stay away from the allergens to avoid this condition.


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Treatments
Conservative treatment Modern Medicine

Most of the times, the mild symptoms don’t require treatment. In case of breathing difficulty the patient should be taken to the hospital immediately. Cool compresses and soaks are given to the patients to provide relief to the pain. Certain medicines may also be administered to the patients such as antihistamines, epinephrine, anti-inflammatory medicines, ranitidine and terbutaline.

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