General Practice 2022

Angioedema: what é, symptoms, why it happens and treatment

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Angioedema: what é, symptoms, why it happens and treatment
Angioedema: what é, symptoms, why it happens and treatment

Angioedema is a condition characterized by deeper swelling of the skin, mainly affecting the lips, hands, feet, eyes or genital region, which can last up to 3 days and be quite uncomfortable. In addition to swelling, there may also be a sensation of heat and burning at the site and pain in the swelling region.

Angioedema is curable when it is caused by an allergic reaction or medication ingestion, and in these cases it is only recommended that the person avoid contact with the substance responsible for the allergy or suspend the use of the medication according to the orientation of the doctor. In some cases, the doctor may also recommend the use of antihistamines or corticosteroids to relieve symptoms associated with angioedema.

Main symptoms

The main symptom of angioedema is swelling of the skin in various parts of the body that lasts up to 3 days and does not cause itching. However, other symptoms may appear, such as:

  • Sensation of heat in the affected region;
  • Pain in places of swelling;
  • Difficulty breathing due to swelling in the throat;
  • Swelling of the tongue;
  • Swelling in the intestine, which can result in cramping, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

In some cases, the person may still experience itching, excessive sweating, mental confusion, increased heart rate and fainting sensation, which may be indicative of anaphylactic shock, which must be treated immediately to avoid complications. Learn more about anaphylactic shock and what to do.

Why it happens

Angioedema occurs as a consequence of an inflammatory response of the body to an infectious or irritating agent. Thus, according to the related cause, angioedema can be classified into:

  • Hereditary Angioedema: arises from birth and can be passed from parents to children due to changes in genes.
  • Allergic angioedema: caused after contact with allergic substances such as peanuts or dust, for example;
  • Medication Angioedema: caused by the side effects of high blood pressure medications such as Amlodipine and Losartan.

In addition to these, there is also idiopathic angioedema, which does not have a specific cause but usually arises as a result of stress situations or infections, for example.

How the treatment is done

Treatment for angioedema should be guided by an allergist or dermatologist and, normally, varies according to the type of angioedema. -histamines, such as Cetirizine or Fexofenadine, and corticosteroid medicines, such as Prednisone, for example.

The treatment of hereditary angioedema should be done with drugs that prevent the development of angioedema over time, such as Danazol, Tranexamic acid or Icatibant. In addition, it is recommended to avoid situations that can cause angioedema.

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