• Angioedema

    (Angioneurotic Edema; Hereditary Angioedema)


    Angioedema is a common condition that involves swelling beneath the surface of the skin with or without redness. Angioedema can occur around the eyelids and lips, or on the face, hands, feet, or genitalia. Since this condition can cause swelling of the airways, it is important that you seek medical care if you think you have angioedema.


    Angioedema is often associated with hives. It can be caused by:
    • Foods such as fruits, shellfish, and nuts
    • Medications such as nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors, angiotensin receptor blockers (ARB) inhibitors, penicillin, aspirin, and morphine
    • Infection
    • Inhaled substances such as pollens, mold spores, and animal dander
    • Certain diseases such as hyperthyroidism, cancer, and rheumatic fever
    • Environment such as cold, heat, and water
    • Skin contact with plants, animals, or medications
    • Skin disease
    • Family history
    Splotchy body rash -adult
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.

    Risk Factors

    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:
    • Large swelling with unclear borders around the eyelids and lips
    • Lesions on the face, trunk, genitals, and extremities
    • Swelling of the hands and feet
    • Swelling of the throat
    • Abdominal pain
    • Rash that is not itchy


    You will be asked about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done.
    Your bodily fluids and tissues may be tested. This can be done with:
    • Blood tests
    • Urine tests
    • Skin tests
    • Throat culture
    • Stool sample
    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:
    • Medications—Certain medications, such as antihistamines, epinephrine, corticosteroids, and pain medications may help ease symptoms of angioedema.
    • Tracheostomy—If your airway is affected, a tube may be placed in your throat to keep your airway open.
    Tracheostomy Tube
    Tracheostomy Tube
    Copyright © Nucleus Medical Media, Inc.


    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 http://www.aaaai.org

    Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America http://www.aafa.org


    Canadian Dermatology Association https://dermatology.ca

    Canadian Society of Allergy and Clinical Immunology http://csaci.ca


    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.

    Revision Information

    • Reviewer: EBSCO Medical Review Board Marcin Chwistek, MD
    • Review Date: 09/2017
    • Update Date: 08/19/2014
  • LiveWell personal health survey

    How healthy are you really? Find out – free.Learn more

    It's time to stop guessing. If you want to make some changes but just aren't sure how, the free personal health survey from LiveWell is a great place to start.

  • HeartSHAPE Spotlight

    At risk for a heart attack? Learn more

    Fight heart disease and prevent heart attacks. HeartSHAPE® is a painless, non-invasive test that checks pictures of your heart for early-stage coronary disease.

  • Calories and Energy Needs

    Calorie NeedsLearn more

    How many calories do you need to eat each day to maintain your weight and fuel your physical activity? Enter a few of your stats into this calculator to find out.

  • Ideal Body Weight

    Ideal Body WeightLearn more

    Using body mass index as a reference, this calculator determines your ideal body weight range. All you need to do is enter your height.

  • Body Mass Index

    Body Mass IndexLearn more

    This tool considers your height and weight to assess your weight status.

  • Can we help answer your questions?

    Wellmont Nurse Connection is your resource for valuable health information any time, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Speak to a Nurse any time, day or night, at (423) 723-6877 or toll-free at 1-877-230-NURSE.