Angioedema is a skin disorder that happens to people of all ages and gender. Here is some relevant information on this disease, which can be life-threatening.
Angioedema is a type of skin allergy that is similar to hives, where swelling develops on the skin very rapidly. However, the difference between the two is that hives appear on the outer surface of the body, whereas angioedema occurs on the tissues underneath the skin. Angioedema mostly occurs near the eyes, mouth, throat, hands, and feet. There are mainly four types of this skin disorder: hereditary, allergic, idiopathic, and drug-induced. In majority of the cases, angioedema does not cause much of a health problem, and it is only when it reaches a severe stage that it becomes dangerous to the health of a person.
This allergy usually develops due to the consumption of certain foods that an individual is allergic to. When a person has an allergy, the body discharges histamine and some other chemicals in the blood stream, leading to this skin disorder. Food stuffs like eggs, nuts, seafood, milk, berries, etc., and some medicines like antibiotics, aspirin, blood pressure drugs, etc., can give rise to angioedema in an individual. Sometimes, it can also arise due to sunlight, cold, heat, or water exposure. An individual can have this skin allergy due to certain insect bites too. It has also been reported that this skin disorder can appear along with some autoimmune diseases.
The major symptom of this condition is swelling on the face, hands, throat, feet, and on the private parts. One may also notice welts (an upraised mark), usually red in color. Swelling can also be found on the eyes and mouth. The welts can be painful as well as itchy, and if the irritation persists, they begin to swell. Cases of severe angioedema occur when the swelling is found on the tongue or in the throat. This may give rise to difficulty in breathing, leading to giddiness and unconsciousness. Extreme cases may also lead to death of an individual.
If the condition is mild, it usually goes away within 3-4 days with or without any specific treatment. Some of the treatments that can be sought at home are: using cold compresses, having cold showers, wearing light and loose-fitting clothes, not doing strenuous physical activities, etc. A person can also be given over-the-counter medicines like antihistamines. If a person does not get better even after taking medicines, it is very essential to take him or her to the doctor.
A person with moderate skin condition would be prescribed certain medicinal drugs like hydroxyzine, desloratadine, cetirizine, etc., by the physician. In severe cases, where the individual has problems in breathing would have to be given immediate medical attention. Major attention should be given to keep the airway in the throat open. The patient may also be given H1 and H2 blockers, steroids, antihistamines, and subcutaneous epinephrine.
People who have had this skin disorder previously are likely to experience it again. Hence, it is necessary that they take some precautions to avoid its recurrence. One should try to avoid things that can cause the development of this skin disease. Early treatment and proper care can help in fast recovery of the individual without any complications.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.