Have you ever had an allergic reaction? Chances are your nose became stuff and runny. In addition, you may have noticed swelling along parts of the skin exposed to the allergy. This swelling of the skin has a name. Known as Angioedema, or Quincke’s edema, this most often occurs due to allergic reaction. In addition, if swelling is quick, then it must be treated immediately to stop the airways from blocking up.
Lets take a closer look at angioedema, including causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment.
As stated before, causes of angioedema include having an allergic reaction. In addition, it can occur as a reaction to medications like ACE inhibitors.
If the allergic reaction is a result of eating something then expect swelling on the face, gums, and tongue. In addition, the throat may swell up as well. This process may take between minutes and hours to fully swell before eventually going down. In cases where angioedema comes on rapidly (in less then a few minutes) immediate help should be sought. angioedema can also occur on other parts of the body that are exposed to an allergy, including the skin. Finally, some patients report having stomach attacks, where the allergy to the food in the stomach can cause gastro-intestinal pains lasting between 1 to 5 days.
A normal diagnosis involves a simple blood test looking at the complete blood count, liver enzymes, electrolytes, and renal functions. In addition, the swelling that occurs due to allergic reaction is often used as evidence for the existence of angioedema.
Treatment depends on the reason behind the angioedema occuring. When angioedema occurs because of allergies, then the best treatment is to stay away from whatever is causing the allergy in the first place. This means a ban on eating or coming in contact with anything relating to the allergen. Chronic cases of angioedema usually involve steroid treatments to help handle the swelling that may occur.
If angioedema is acquired through drug treatments, like ACE inhibitors, then different treatments are required. The best way to stop angioedema is to discontinue giving the drug, and instead give a different but similar variety of the drug. For those who have angioedema caused by ACE, ARBs are suggested as the alternative.
Finally, there are treatments for angioedema when it is acquired via heredity. While future attacks can be managed, it can be a real challenge to treat angioedema in hereditary cases, as it is bound to happen again and again.
A Final Important Note:
Though it has been said before, it bares repeating. If you or someone you love is suffering from angioedema, then the best and most important thing to do is immediately seek medical help. This is especially true if it is a case where the angioedema is progressing rapidly. Because angioedema can hinder many basic processes, like breathing or seeing, treating angioedema right away can mean the difference between life and death. Don’t take the chance and seek professional help at once.