Angioedema is a type of allergic reaction that involves swelling in the deeper layers of the skin and underlying tissues. It is typically classified as a type I hypersensitivity reaction, which is mediated by immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies.
Angioedema is the swelling of the deeper layers of the skin, caused by a build-up of fluid. The symptoms of angioedema can affect any part of the body, but swelling usually affects the: eyes. lips.
In an allergic reaction, the immune system mistakenly identifies a harmless substance, known as an allergen, as a threat. This triggers the production of specific IgE antibodies, which bind to immune cells called mast cells and basophils.
When a person with a predisposition to allergies is exposed to the allergen again, it binds to the IgE antibodies on mast cells and basophils. This triggers the release of various chemicals, including histamine, from these cells. Histamine causes blood vessels to become more permeable and leads to the characteristic swelling seen in angioedema.
It’s important to note that while angioedema is commonly associated with allergies, not all cases of angioedema are allergic in nature. Other non-allergic triggers, such as certain medications or hereditary factors, can also cause angioedema. Identifying the specific trigger or underlying cause is essential for appropriate diagnosis and management of angioedema.