Angioedema is swelling under the surface of the skin with or without redness. It is very common. Angioedema can occur around the eyelids and lips, or on the face, hands, feet, or genitalia. It can cause swelling of the airways, so it is important to seek medical care if you think you have angioedema.
Angioedema is often associated with hives. It can be caused by:
This condition is more common in women and people who are 30-60 years of age.
Factors that may increase your chances of developing angioedema include:
Symptoms may include:
You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
Your bodily fluids and tissues may be tested to look for other potential causes. This can be done with:
Images may be taken of your abdomen. This can be done with an abdominal ultrasound.
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Minor episodes of angioedema may not need treatment. However, it is important to make sure the swelling does not spread to the airway, which can be life-threatening. Treatment options include the following:
To help reduce your chances of developing this condition, avoid substances or triggers that have caused hives or angioedema in the past.
American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology
Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America
Canadian Dermatology Association
Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology
Acute urticaria. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T916900/Acute-urticaria. Updated July 27, 2017. Accessed October 2, 2017.
Beltrani VS. Angioedema: some "new" thoughts regarding idiopathic angioedema. In: Greaves MW, Kaplan AP, eds. Marcel Dekker. New York, NY; 2004: 421.
Angioedema. EBSCO DynaMed Plus website. Available at: http://www.dynamed.com/topics/dmp~AN~T566511/Angioedema. Updated May 3, 2016. Accessed October 2, 2017.
Last reviewed January 2018 by EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.