What are hereditary and acquired angioedema?
Angioedema Angioedema Angioedema is swelling of your face, lips, tongue, and throat. Angioedema is often caused by an allergic reaction. The swelling may get so bad that you can't breathe Angioedema can start suddenly... read more is swelling of your face, lips, tongue, and throat that is usually caused by an allergic reaction Overview of Allergic Reactions The immune system is your body's defense system. It helps protect you from illness and infection. The immune system usually reacts to and attacks bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells. An allergy... read more . But angioedema can also be caused by a certain problem with your immune system Overview of the Immune System The immune system is your body's defense system. It helps protect you from illness and infection. The immune system's job is to attack things that don’t belong in your body, including: Germs... read more .
Hereditary angioedema is an immune system problem you're born with
Acquired angioedema is an immune system problem caused by another illness or condition
Hereditary and acquired angioedema are like angioedema caused by an allergic reaction, but they don't itch and you don't get hives (red, itchy, raised patches on the skin).
Your lips, tongue, and throat may swell, which can cause trouble breathing
You may feel sick to your stomach and throw up
Doctors can use medicines to treat and prevent the swelling
What causes hereditary or acquired angioedema?
Hereditary angioedema is genetic (a trait inherited from a parent). The condition is present at birth, but symptoms usually start when you’re a child or teenager.
Acquired angioedema can develop after you get certain cancers or autoimmune diseases Autoimmune Diseases The immune system is your body's defense system. It helps protect you from illness and infection. The immune system usually attacks invading bacteria, viruses, and cancer cells. With an autoimmune... read more (a disease that causes your body's immune system to attack its own tissues). Symptoms usually start later in life.
What can trigger an attack of angioedema?
In both hereditary and acquired angioedema, swelling may be triggered by:
What are the symptoms of hereditary and acquired angioedema?
Symptoms can include painful swelling in your:
Lining of your mouth, throat, airways, and digestive tract
Other symptoms include:
Feeling sick to your stomach
Swelling in the voice box, throat, or tongue can cause breathing problems.
How can doctors tell if I have hereditary or acquired angioedema?
Doctors suspect hereditary or acquired angioedema if you have swelling but no hives. To know for sure, they'll do:
How do doctors treat hereditary and acquired angioedema?
Doctors treat you with:
Medicine that helps your immune system
Doctors may also give you medicines to prevent swelling, particularly before known triggers.
Blocked airway treatment
If your airway swells and you have problems breathing, doctors will need to open your airway. To do this, they may:
Give you a shot to lessen swelling
Put in a breathing tube through your nose or mouth
If there is too much swelling around the nose and mouth, put in a breathing tube by cutting into the skin over your windpipe