Swelling And Angioedema Explained
Swelling of the tongue, face or other parts of the body – also called angioedema, which refers to swelling beneath the skin’s surface layer or below the mucous membranes. It is caused by blood leaking out of small blood vessels such as veins, deep within the tissues of the body . Swelling closer to the skin’s surface is known as hives, and this often accompanies angioedema if an allergic reaction to food is the cause.
In What Parts Of The Body Swelling Can Occur
Angioedema is usually marked by deep swelling around the lips and eyes , but is sometimes seen in the hands, feet and genitals. In very rare situations angioedema can occur in the throat, tongue or lungs, causing breathing difficulties. It can also occur in the stomach or bowels, which, in turn, can trigger stomach or chest pains . However, this is also very rare. With appropriate treatment, angioedema usually resolves in under 24 hours . It does not cause permanent damage to internal organs, although it can be uncomfortable and distressing, particularly if it is associated with breathing difficulties.
Finding What Trigger Your Swelling
As with other symptoms of food allergy, angioedema can also be due to other conditions, so being able to identify your triggers fast is vital for peace of mind; as well as ensuring that you get the correct treatment.
Having a symptom and trigger tracking app like AlliApp is one of the best ways to do this. Simply input your meals together with lists of ingredients (for example, if you had cake). You can even take pictures of your food with the inbuilt camera. With AlliApp Premium, there is also an option to print out your health report as a pdf file, allowing you to easily present all the information you have collected to your healthcare team. Try AlliApp Premium for free for 7 days.
Other articles of our series “The Six Main Symptoms of Food Allergy”:
- Australasian Society of Clinical Immunology and Allergy (2017): ‘Angioedema’. Available at: https://www.allergy.org.au/patients/skin-allergy/angioedema [Accessed on 21/09/18]
- Web MD (2018): ‘What are Hives and Angioedema?’. Available at: https://www.webmd.com/allergies/hives-urticaria-angioedema#1 [Accessed on 27/07/18]