Angioedema: Overview, Causes

Alternate Names : Angioneurotic edema, Welts


Angioedema is a swelling, similar to hives, but the swelling is beneath the skin rather than on the surface. The hives are called welts. It is also possible to have angioedema without hives.

See also: Hereditary angioedema

Overview, Causes, & Risk Factors

Angioedema may be caused by an allergic reaction. During the reaction, histamine and other chemicals are released into the bloodstream. The body releases histamine when the immune system detects a foreign substance called an allergen.

Often the cause of angioedema is never found.

The following items may cause angioedema.

* Animal dander (scales of shed skin)
* Medications (drug allergy), such as antibiotics (penicillin and sulfa drugs) and blood pressure medicines (ACE inhibitors)
* Exposure to water, sunlight, cold or heat
* Foods (such as berries, shellfish, fish, nuts, eggs, milk, and others)
* Insect bites
* Pollen

Hives and angioedema may also occur after infections or with other illness (including autoimmune disorders such as lupus and leukemia and lymphoma).

A form of angioedema runs in families and has different triggers, complications, and treatments. This is called hereditary angioedema, and it is not discussed here.

Angioedema: Overview, Causes

Angioedema: Symptoms & Signs, Diagnosis & Tests

Angioedema: Treatment

Review Date : 4/28/2008
Reviewed By : David C. Dugdale, III., MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Stuart I. Henochowicz, MD, FACP, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Division of Allergy, Immunology, and Rheumatology, Georgetown University Medical School. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only — they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- 2010 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

Disclaimer: This content including advice provides generic information only. It is in no way a substitute for qualified medical opinion. Always consult a specialist or your own doctor for more information. NDTV does not claim responsibility for this information.

Tags: , , .

Leave a comment