Angioedema is a swelling in deep seated tissues similar to an allergic reaction.
It can occur in any part of the body.
In most cases angioedema swelling is merely a nuisance. However if severe swelling effects your throat and/or tongue you should seek emergency medical treatment. Antihistamines or steroids may be given to ease the swelling or (in some cases) prevent the swell.
There are four types of angioedema:
- Allergic angioedema is an allergic reaction such as a wasp or bee sting or a nut allergy. Patients with known allergies may be given single dose adrenaline injector to carry with them at all times.
- Idiopathic angioederma is severe swelling without an identified cause. Examples can be food intolerance or reactions to airborne substances such as house dust or mold.
- Drug related angioederma is severe swelling in reaction to taking medication. Patients may develop an intolerance of prescribed medications such as aspirin, anti-inflammatory medication or some drugs used to treat high blood pressure (called ACE inhibitors).
- Hereditary angioedema is rare. This type of angioederma is caused by lack of a particular protein in the blood.
If you experience angioedema that has not been previously diagnosed you should contact your GP. You may need test to determine what type of angioedema you have. You may be referred to a specialist for further treatment.