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Allergies

Idiopathic angiodema

Patients get recurrent episodes of angioedema (swelling) over more than 6 weeks. These often appear over the face (mouth, lips, tongue, and eyelids) or periphery. The symptoms typically occur in the evenings, during the night or first thing in the morning, though they can appear anytime during the day. No food or drug triggers are identified to these episodes. Quite often these episodes may be exacerbated by heat or pressure; they can be associated with underactive thyroid or underlying infection. More often these can be linked to major stressors in life like bereavements, illness in the family, moving home, changing jobs, and stress at work or in personal life, divorce or marital problems. Idiopathic angioedema is relatively common. There are no specific tests for this condition; the diagnosis is reached by taking a careful history and after excluding other causes such as infection, inflammation or autoimmune disease. This condition tends to last for a few months or for a few years before gradually fading away. However in some cases it may go on for several years.

Treatment

The general advice is to take a daily, non-sedating, long-acting antihistamine. Patients’ often need a higher dose of antihistamines or a combination of antihistamines and other medicines till they are symptom free for a few months before they can gradually taper off their medicines.

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