What are the various types of Angioedema

There are four types of angioedema, and they all have different causes.

Allergic angioedema: This is the most common kind. Your allergic reaction can be to foods, like:

  • Shellfish
  • Fish
  • Peanuts
  • Tree nuts
  • Eggs
  • Milk

It could also be to:

  • Pollen
  • Animal dander
  • Latex
  • Insect stings

Drug-induced angioedema: Some medicines can trigger angioedema. They include:

  • Penicillin
  • Aspirin
  • Other non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs), like ibuprofen and naproxen.

Certain blood pressure medicines called angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitors can also cause flare-ups that can happen quickly. Even if you’ve been taking ACE inhibitors for a long time, sudden reactions can still happen.

Hereditary angioedema (HAE): This is rare. It happens when your body doesn’t make enough of a blood protein called C1 esterase inhibitor. That lets fluid from your blood move into other tissues, which brings swelling. You’ll usually have your first bout of this before you turn 12 years old. You may pass the condition on to your children.

There’s another very rare type called acquired angioedema that has the same symptoms as HAE. It’s different because it doesn’t happen until you’re older than 40. It usually happens when you have a weakened immune system. Unlike HAE, you can’t pass it on to your children.

Idiopathic angioedema: Idiopathic means there isn’t a known cause for your swelling. Possible culprits can include:

  • Anxiety or stress
  • Minor infections
  • High or low temperatures
  • Overdoing it when you exercise

Allergic and drug-induced angioedema usually happen within an hour of exposure to your trigger. Hereditary and acquired types usually happen over many hours, but it can feel much faster if you wake up and suddenly discover swelling.