Battling persistent angioedema symptoms? It’s time for a change. Choose Penn Medicine Becker ENT & Allergy, where our expert physicians guide you. Experience the innovative Angioedema Treatment we offer, and look forward to a life with reduced flare-ups and enhanced well-being.
- What is Angioedema and What Causes it?
- Angioedema Treatment Medications
- Choosing the Right Doctor for Angioedema Care
- Diagnostic Tests to Check for Angioedema Symptoms
- Benefits of Allergy Immunotherapy
- Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Future Angioedema Attacks
- Frequently Asked Questions about Angioedema Treatment
What is Angioedema and What Causes it?
Angioedema is a condition characterized by the swelling of the deeper layers of skin due to fluid build-up. This swelling often appears around the eyes, lips, genitals, hands, and feet, but it can affect any body part. Many people who suffer from angioedema also experience hives or urticaria, which presents as a raised itchy rash. The cause of angioedema can vary and can include abdominal pain, insect bites or stings, and certain medications or food allergies. In some cases, there may be no known trigger. Blood tests are usually required to help make a diagnosis as well as to rule out other conditions that may mimic angioedema symptoms, such as acute urticaria or an autoimmune disorder.
Angioedema is classified into two types: acute and recurrent angioedema. Acute attacks are generally mild symptoms that resolve within twenty-four hours without treatment; however, if left untreated they can become serious medical emergencies, especially if the throat swells shut, making it difficult to breathe. Recurrent Angioedema, on the other hand, is defined as having at least three episodes more than six weeks apart within one year with no known trigger.
Treatment for both types of angioedema will depend on the cause; however, emergency medical attention should be sought if you experience any severe symptoms, such as difficulty breathing or severe abdominal pain. Your healthcare provider will take your medical history, including any family history of allergies, and perform a physical examination along with possible blood tests in order to make a diagnosis and develop an individualized treatment plan for you.
Angioedema Treatment Medications
The appropriate therapeutic approach for angioedema is contingent upon the specific types and severity levels of the condition. The following is a comprehensive list of the commonly prescribed medications used to effectively alleviate symptoms of angioedema.
Histamine H1 Antagonist Medications
These drugs, commonly referred to as antihistamines, serve as a primary treatment for both allergic and idiopathic angioedema. Their function is to counteract the effects of histamine, a compound that the body releases during an allergic reaction, which triggers inflammation and swelling. This is why antihistamines are typically the first course of action when treating allergic angioedema.
Glucocorticosteroids, or corticosteroids, are anti-inflammatory medications that can help reduce swelling and inflammation in cases of allergic and idiopathic angioedema. These medications work by binding to specific receptors in cells that are signaling molecules to contribute to inflammation and swelling. By reducing the production of these molecules, corticosteroids can effectively reduce the inflammation and swelling associated with angioedema.
Kinetin is a plant hormone that has been shown to have the potential for treating hereditary angioedema by increasing the production of the C1-inhibitor protein.
Biologic medications, such as monoclonal antibodies, can be used to treat certain types of angioedema by targeting specific proteins or cells involved in the inflammatory response.
Androgenic steroids are synthetic derivatives of the male hormone testosterone and can be used to treat hereditary angioedema. These medications (such as danazol) will increase the production of a protein called C1-inhibitor, which helps control inflammation and swelling.
Angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors are medications used to treat high blood pressure, but they can also cause drug-induced angioedema. In such cases, referred to as ACEi-induced angioedema, alternative medications may be prescribed to manage the condition.
A deficiency or dysfunction of the C1-inhibitor can lead to excessive release of inflammatory mediators. C1-Inhibitor Concentrates are used to treat hereditary angioedema by replacing the missing or dysfunctional C1-inhibitor protein in the body.
Xolair (omalizumab) is an anti-IgE medication used to treat chronic idiopathic angioedema and allergic angioedema that is not responsive to other treatments.
Omalizumab is a monoclonal antibody medication that can be used to treat chronic idiopathic angioedema by blocking the action of immunoglobulin E (IgE), a protein involved in allergic reactions.
Danazol is an androgenic steroid medication used to treat hereditary angioedema by increasing the production of C1-inhibitor protein. In individuals with hereditary angioedema, there is a deficiency or dysfunction in the C1-inhibitor protein, which leads to recurrent attacks of angioedema.
Biologics or Anti-IgE Immunotherapy
Biologic medications or immunotherapy target specific proteins or cells involved in the inflammatory response and can help manage angioedema symptoms. Biologic medications may offer advantages over other therapies for angioedema, such as corticosteroids or antihistamines, due to their specificity and targeted ability.
Choosing the Right Doctor for Angioedema Care
When choosing a doctor to treat angioedema, it is important to find someone who has experience in dealing with the condition. You should seek out a healthcare provider or specialist who is knowledgeable about the common types of angioedema and can provide adequate treatment for your specific case. For severe cases, such as throat swelling or chronic urticaria, it may be beneficial to consult with an allergist or plastic surgeon that specializes in treating angioedema.
It is also important to have a plan of action in place for acute treatment of angioedema when needed. The best healthcare provider for you should be able to provide guidance on medications and lifestyle changes that can help reduce symptoms and manage the condition over time. Additionally, they should also be able to provide support and resources that can help you better understand your condition and learn how best to manage it over time.
Diagnostic Tests to Check for Angioedema Symptoms
For those suffering from severe angioedema, a healthcare provider may be able to diagnose the condition based on a physical exam and a review of symptoms. If an inhibitor deficiency is suspected, laboratory tests may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis. These tests can include checking for levels of C1-inhibitor protein in the blood, as well as screening for any underlying genetic conditions that could be causing angioedema. If an allergic reaction or anaphylactic reaction is suspected, allergy testing or referral to an allergy specialist may be necessary. Ultimately, a plastic surgeon who specializes in treating angioedema can help with diagnosing and managing this condition.
Benefits of Allergy Immunotherapy
Allergy immunotherapy is a form of medical treatment used to manage the symptoms of common allergies and disorders. By introducing small doses of an allergen into the body, allergy immunotherapy helps to build up a tolerance for that allergen and can help reduce the frequency of attacks or reactions. This form of treatment has been found to be particularly effective in treating allergies such as pollen, mold, dust mites, and bee stings.
The primary benefit of allergy immunotherapy is that it can reduce the severity and frequency of allergic attacks in patients who suffer from common allergies. Not only does this therapy provide symptom relief, but it can also help prevent future episodes by desensitizing the patient’s immune system to certain allergens. Furthermore, allergy immunotherapy also offers other benefits, such as improved quality of life and increased patient education on their condition.
Allergy immunotherapy is a safe and effective therapeutic option for those suffering from common allergic conditions. As such, many clinics are now offering this type of medical treatment to their patients as part of their clinical practice. For those seeking relief from frequent allergic attacks or looking for ways to prevent them altogether, allergy immunotherapy may be a viable option worth considering.
Lifestyle Changes to Prevent Future Angioedema Attacks
Preventing future angioedema attacks involves identifying and avoiding triggers, as well as making certain lifestyle changes. These may include:
- Avoiding known allergens or irritants
- Managing stress through relaxation techniques, such as meditation or yoga
- Eating a healthy diet
- Prioritizing sleep and self-care
- Quitting smoking and limiting alcohol consumption
- Following your healthcare provider’s recommendations for preventive medications and other treatments
- Having an emergency plan in case of severe attacks
Why Choose Our Specialists?
- Dr. Daniel G. Becker, Founder and Medical Director of The Penn Medicine Becker ENT & Allergy Center, is a highly trained, board-certified specialist who graduated magna cum laude from Harvard College in 1986.
- Dr. Samuel S. Becker, Director of Rhinology at The Penn Medicine Becker ENT & Allergy Center, is a highly trained, board-certified specialist who graduated from Amherst College in 1991 and attended medical school at the University of California San Francisco.
- Dr. Kenneth Rosenstein is a highly trained, board certified otolaryngologist who attended medical school at Mcgill University, and completed his residency training at the prestigious New York Eye and Ear Infirmary.
- Dr. Naomi Gregory is a highly trained, board certified otolaryngologist who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of diseases of the ear, nose, and throat. Dr. Gregory completed medical school at the Philadelphia College of Osteopathic Medicine in Philadelphia PA.
- Dr. Michael Lupa, MD is a highly trained, board certified otolaryngologist with additional training in sinus surgery and allergy treatment as well as advanced skull base surgery. He studied Biology at Tufts University and went on to complete medical school at Case Western University School of Medicine in Cleveland, Ohio.
- Dr. Robert Mignone is a highly trained, board-certified otolaryngologist-head and neck surgeon who attended medical school at New York College of Osteopathic Medicine.
- Dr. Aubrey McCullough is a highly trained otolaryngologist, facial plastic and head and neck surgeon who completed medical school at Midwestern University Arizona College of Osteopathic Medicine.
- Dr. Luke Kim is an otolaryngologist who specializes in the diagnosis, medical management, and surgical treatment of diseases of the ear, nose, and throat. Dr. Kim graduated with honors and with distinction from Cornell University and completed his medical studies at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania.
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