What are the signs and symptoms of Angioedema ? Can it be life-threatening ?
@kinzey Angioedema is the swelling of deep dermis, subcutaneous, or submucosal tissue due to vascular leakage. Acute episodes often involve the lip, eyes, and face (see the image below); however, angioedema may affect other parts of body, including respiratory and gastrointestinal (GI) mucosa. Laryngeal swelling can be life-threatening.
Signs and symptoms
Angioedema may affect many organ systems. Visible swelling is common in peripheral angioedema. It is often associated with local burning sensation and pain without pronounced itchiness or local erythema. The most commonly involved areas are:
Peripheral swelling: skin and urogenital area (e.g., eyelids or lips, tongue, hands, feet, scrotum, etc.)
Abdomen: Abdominal pain (sometimes it can be the only presenting symptom of angioedema)
Larynx: Throat tightness, voice changes, and breathing trouble (indicators of possible airway involvement), potentially life-threatening.
Physical examination findings in patients with abdominal (intestinal mucosal) angioedema can vary widely. Massive edema of the submucosal tissue in the abdominal region may produce abdominal distention and signs consistent with bowel obstruction. In many cases, there may be no specific findings, even in severe cases of angioedema, and patients may have only changes in bowel sounds and diffuse or localized tenderness.
Uvula or tongue swelling can be visualized directly (see the image below). However, laryngoscopy is indicated to assess laryngeal or vocal cord involvement. Determining airway patency is the first step in airway assessment. In severe attacks, dyspnea can herald the onset of systemic anaphylaxis.