The severe swelling of angioedema often occurs in the face and develops rapidly, sometimes creating an emergency as it interferes with breathing. If you have trouble breathing, call 911 or go to the emergency department. Then follow up with the board certified allergists at North Texas Allergy & Asthma Associates for ongoing treatment of the allergy that caused the swelling. The doctors are available at three locations in North Texas: Texas Health Dallas, Baylor Regional Medical Center at Plano, and Baylor University Medical Center at Dallas.
Hives are raised, red, itchy areas that appear on top of the skin. Hives can also develop deeper in the skin, where they cause swelling. When this happens, it’s called angioedema. Angioedema often develops abruptly — within minutes or over a few hours — and results in severe swelling. While it commonly involves the face, lips, and/or tongue, the swelling may occur on the hands, feet, or genitals. Sometimes the swelling occurs inside the throat, which is a medical emergency because it can interfere with breathing.
Acute angioedema lasts a short time, usually no longer than several days. Some patients develop chronic angioedema, which lasts longer than 6 weeks. Hives may or may not be present with the angioedema; it depends on what causes the swelling.
The underlying cause of chronic angioedema often isn’t known, but the most common cause of acute angioedema is an allergy. Pollen, food, medications, insect stings, animal dander, latex, and other environmental allergens can all trigger severe swelling. Patients with a family history of asthma, allergic rhinitis (hay fever), and dermatitis may be at a higher risk for angioedema.
While swelling is the primary symptom, patients with angioedema may experience itchy skin, wheezing and difficulty breathing. In some cases, it may cause pain or a drop in blood pressure. When the allergen is ingested, whether it’s a medication or a food such as shellfish or nuts, angioedema can occur in the digestive tract, causing abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhea.
If you experience angioedema that affects your ability to breathe, call 911 or go to the emergency department to get immediate medical help. Depending on the severity of your swelling, the doctor may give you a prescription antihistamine or recommend one that’s available in the local pharmacy. Then the doctors at North Texas Allergy & Asthma Associates will begin the process of identifying the allergen that triggered your angioedema. If it was caused by food, you’ll need to eliminate that food. For other types of allergens, your doctor will discuss ways to avoid the allergen, and whether you’ll benefit from allergy shots.
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"I just finished my allergy shots here and am SO much better. Everyone is very friendly and professional and scheduling is very flexible. 100% recommended."
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"The office staff was kind and courteous, they also took the time to explain my insurance coverage and make sure that I knew the cost and insurance coverage."
"Their allergy test are much better than I have had in the past - with Dr Safdarian going the extra mile to test me to verify some items the default test did not find..."
"Greeted by staff when i arrived. Reasonable wait time with several paitents in lobby. Offices clean & staff knowledgeable."
"Dr. Safdarian was extremely detailed and took her time during my first appointment where I was getting tested to see what I was allergic to."
"She is really conscientious about my health care and takes the time to get plenty of information from me and welcomes my questions."
"There is adequate staff at NTAAA, whereas many doctors today are trying to save money by cutting staff. The staff at NTAAA is very good, competent, and friendly..."
"This is one of the best patient experience I have had. Considering that allergy shots are a multi year commitment - they make it easy by having all day shot hours."
"The people at North Texas Allergy and Asthma are always friendly, courteous, and professional."
"Dr. Sikka has made my quality of life so much better! He never pressured me into taking allergy shots and gladly answered all my questions..."
"I couldn't have been happier to find Dr. Sikka. Extremely competent, well educated, very attentive in listening and observing his patient."