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Angioedema: Overview

Angioedema is localized swelling of one or several areas of the body. It can be distinguished from other common causes of edema (swelling) by the following characteristics:

  • Rapid in onset (minutes to hours) instead of gradual over days to weeks
  • Asymmetric, meaning it is not balanced and the swelling can change shape
  • Angioedema can involve the throat, lips, face, genital region, hands and feet and intestines
  • Most other causes of edema affect mainly areas of the body that are “dependent,” such as the lower legs and ankles, due to the effects of gravity.
  • Is often accompanied by hives and can even be part of anaphylaxis, which is a full-body allergic reaction.



 

  • Reviewed on 7/01
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