Are You At Risk of Hereditary Angioedema?

Rare genetic conditions can be passed down through the generations. Hereditary angioedema is one such rare condition. People who get it are born with it, though they may not realize it initially.

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People with hereditary angioedema will usually have it show itself during childhood. After a few years (the teen years), the symptoms become much worse.

People who have hereditary angioedema don’t  have to deal with it constantly. They will likely have to deal with various attacks. Mild cases might deal with a couple of attacks each year. Others can have an attack almost every week! While many cases and attacks of swelling from hereditary angioedema go away on their own, if they occur in the wrong place, they can have serious complications! 

Hereditary Angioedema Information and Complications

Since the cause is hereditary, there’s nothing that people can do to prevent it. A problem with a specific protein in the blood causes an imbalance, and in turn causes blood vessels to push fluid out of position and cause a large amount of swelling. 

The biggest dangers come from the complications of hereditary angioedema. Swelling in the throat is the most dangerous. It can cause a person to be unable to breathe and potentially lead to a fatal situation. People who have swelling in the stomach area often undergo extreme pain. They can also suffer from bouts of vomiting, diarrhea and the accompanying nausea. 

Symptoms of Hereditary Angioedema

Bouts of symptoms tend to last anywhere between two and five days. The main symptom is the severe swelling that can occur. The issue is what else that swelling can cause. First off, the swelling can occur in many locations throughout the body. This includes the hands, feet, mouth and throat, face, belly and genital region. 

Some people receive warning symptoms just before an attack and swelling is to begin. These warning signs can include: 

  • Mood Swings
  • Heavy Fatigue
  • Tingling Sensations
  • Muscle Aches
  • Pelly Pain
  • Headaches
  • Hoarse Throat

If you experience any of those before an attack of hereditary angioedema, it can be a warning sign for potential future bouts. It’s important to note that a future attack could be in a different area of the body and bypass the warning signs completely as well. 

Treating Hereditary Angioedema

Treatment will typically revolve around using medications in an effort to prevent, or reduce the severity of attacks. In some more serious cases, it’s possible that an IV of fluids can be suggested to alleviate suffering. Oxygen could be used in cases where breathing is affected. 

The main treatment comes in a preventative form. Hereditary Angioedema is commonly caused by various triggers. By learning which ones are relevant, each patient can help avoid the triggers and reduce their potential for attack. Some include: 

  • Repetitive Physical Activities and Household Chores
  • Cold and Flu
  • Stress
  • Anxiety
  • Small Injuries and Surgeries
  • Medications
  • Pregnancy
  • Birth Control
  • Menstruation

While some of these are difficult to avoid, an examination of medications being taken can be rotated through. Additional protection can be taken against getting a cold or flu. Trying different things in concert with consultation with your doctor can help to identify each individual’s triggers and avoid them.

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