What is Angioedema?

Angioedema, also known as Quincke’s edema is described as the rapid swelling of dermis (skin), mucus, and submucosal tissues. It usually affects the deeper part of the skin, commonly around the face and lips. It is also defined as an acute mast of cell–mediated reaction caused by exposure to drug, venom, pollen, or animal allergens. The swelling (localized) is due to vascular and intravascular fluid leakages. The skin around the eyes, lips, genitals, hands, and feet swell and develops into red, itchy patches called hives or urticaria on the skin surface.

Angioedema is classified into two main types: Acquired Angioedema (AAE) and Hereditary Angioedema (HAE). AAE is usually caused by allergy, and can be a side-effect of certain medicines like ACE inhibitors. HAE is caused by genetic mutations inherited from the family. These are distinguished by underlying genetic abnormalities.


The main prevalent symptom of angioedema is swelling which develops below the skin surface. The swelling occurs on face around eyes, lips, mouth, hands, and feet, and in certain cases it is genital. The swelling then develops into red, itchy patches called urticaria (hives). The rashes subside in a few days, but skin may look painful. Common symptoms of angioedema are:

  • Difficulty in breathing
  • Red and irritated eyes (conjunctivitis)
  • Abdominal pain.
  • Feeling sick and fatigued.
  • Diarrhea and nausea.
  • Fainting and dizziness


Some of the most probable causes of angioedema include:

  • Allergies
  • Medication
  • Genetics
  • Vigorous exercise 
  • Stress and anxiety
  • Minor infections


Individual have high risk of Angioedema if they have:

  • Previous history
  • Allergic reactions
  • Disorder associated with angioedema such as lupus, lymphoma, or thyroid disease
  • Family history or hereditary angioedema


To prevent this disease, one should take care of the following things:

  • Eating healthy
  • Resting enough
  • Walking, and doing physical workout

How is it diagnosed?

At Medanta, our doctor may examine the affected area and will take details of the symptoms and past medical history. The details will include probable symptoms which occur, or worsen later. Few tes...

How is it treated?

At Medanta, the treatment helps in getting relief from intense itching, and discomfort that persists.


When do I contact the doctor?

If there are frequent episodes of swelling, affecting the skin and lips majorly, but the cause is unknown, you are advised to immediately consult a doctor. Symptoms such as breathing problems, fainting or dizziness worsen further. It can turn fatal if neglected. 

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