Angioedema causes swelling that develops quickly, often affecting your face. While most cases are associated with allergies, the swelling can occur in response to many different allergens. At AIR Care, Richard Herrscher, MD, provides comprehensive care for angioedema, beginning with identifying the cause, then providing treatment to prevent recurring swelling. If you develop angioedema, call one of the offices in Dallas or Plano, Texas, or schedule an appointment online.
Angioedema is a type of swelling that occurs when fluids build up in the deep layers of your skin. The swelling develops in response to triggers such as:
More than 90% of patients with angioedema develop the swelling as part of an allergic reaction. Allergic angioedema usually occurs within one hour of exposure to the allergen. Any type of allergen can cause the problem, including pollen, food, insect stings, latex, mold, poison ivy, and pet dander.
Many common medications cause angioedema, such as penicillin, aspirin, ibuprofen, other NSAIDs, and blood pressure medications such as ACE inhibitors.
Exposure to sunlight or other sources of heat, cold temperatures, exercise, and pressure on your skin may cause angioedema.
Although not as common, health problems such as infections, lupus, and thyroid conditions can trigger angioedema.
While the characteristic symptoms of angioedema are swelling and redness, you can also develop large thick welts. Skin in the affected area usually feels warm, and in some cases it’s also painful. Angioedema symptoms should improve in a few days, although the swelling can continue recurring for months.
Angioedema often affects your face, lips, and the area around your eyes. It can also develop in your digestive tract, where it causes symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, and abdominal pain. If the swelling affects your upper airways, you may experience wheezing and difficulty breathing.
In rare cases, swelling develops in your throat. Since this can quickly block your airways, you should consider this a medical emergency requiring immediate attention.
When your angioedema is associated with an allergic reaction, Dr. Herrscher may treat it with antihistamines or oral steroids, or he may try immunosuppressive medications if steroids don’t help. If you have chronic idiopathic angioedema, he may recommend Xolair®, a biologic medication that’s administered in the AIR Care office infusion center.
Beyond treating and relieving your acute symptoms, Dr. Herrscher performs a thorough evaluation to determine what caused your angioedema. You may need blood work or allergy testing, then he develops a customized treatment plan that may include immunotherapy.
If your angioedema doesn’t go away in a few days, or it’s severe or painful, call AIR Care or schedule an appointment online.