Types of angioedema
- Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is genetic and tends to recur. This inherited form of angioedema is related to low levels or abnormal functioning of certain blood proteins (C1 inhibitors). These inhibitors help regulate immune system functions.
- Acquired angioedema (AAE) is not genetic. It is characterized by painless, non-pitting, non-pruritic swelling of the skin. This form of angioedema occurs as a reaction to histamine or other chemicals in the blood. This form of angioedema is often, although not always, the result of an allergic reaction.
- Angioedema-eosinophilia syndrome causes a fever, hives or itchiness. This form of angioedema is characterized by a high leukocyte count, muscle pain, weight gain or decreased urination.
Angioedema and urticaria
- Angioedema and urticaria are different manifestations of the same pathologic process. In both conditions, postcapillary venule inflammation results in fluid leakage and edema (swelling). However, angioedema involves vessels in the layers of the skin below the dermis, while urticaria is localized to the superficial portion of the dermis.
- The subdermal source of angioedema results in well-demarcated, localized, non-pitting edema. Urticaria is characterized by well-circumscribed wheals with raised erythematous borders and central blanching.
- Angioedema and urticaria can occur together or separately. Recurrent episodes of one or both conditions for less than a six-week period are considered acute, whereas longer-lasting outbreaks are considered chronic.
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The information in this monograph is intended for informational purposes only, and is meant to help users better understand health concerns. Information is based on review of scientific research data, historical practice patterns, and clinical experience. This information should not be interpreted as specific medical advice. Users should consult with a qualified healthcare provider for specific questions regarding therapies, diagnosis and/or health conditions, prior to making therapeutic decisions.