How Much Do You Know About Hereditary Angioedema?


Many people suffer from conditions which cause inflammation and swelling. This is a common reaction within the body to many different conditions. In some cases, it’s caused by a bacteria or virus that’s picked up. In other cases, the immune system incorrectly detects issues within the body. Some people are born with hereditary issues and can’t avoid conditions. 

Hereditary angioedema is a genetic swelling condition. The swelling occurs just under the skin and it occurs in the lining of the lungs and other guts of the body. This is a rare condition that doesn’t happen to that many people. People who get hereditary angioedema have it for their entire life. However, there are treatment options for people. If you’re interested in learning more about this rare condition, keep reading to learn some of the basics. 

Causes of Hereditary Angioedema

As mentioned, hereditary angioedema is a genetic disease. This means that it is passed on through the genes in the body. Specifically the cause is the problem with a gene that’s called a C1 inhibitor. 

Typically if one parent has the hereditary aspect of the gene, then a child has a 50% chance to get the condition. However, there are rare occasions when the altered gene can occur and be passed on without the disease. People who have this happen to them can then in turn pass on the gene defect to their children. 

Symptoms of Hereditary Angioedema

There are several symptoms which can occur if someone has hereditary angioedema. Swelling can occur in multiple different areas of the body. It’s this swelling which in turn will cause people to feel different symptoms elsewhere. Swelling is common and can occur in the face, feet, hands, genitals, belly, mouth and throat areas of the body. Some of the symptoms that can occur are: 

  • Pain - This is a severe pain that’s often felt in the belly due to swelling theres. 
  • Vomiting - This is accompanied by nausea. It’s caused by swelling in the belly area and sometimes also has diarrhea. 
  • Muscle Aches - It’s very possible to feel common muscle pain in various muscles throughout the body near to the areas where swelling is common. 
  • Extreme Fatigue - People with hereditary angioedema might feel incredibly tired just before the swelling begins. 
  • Headaches - These are common as a warning sign before swelling. 
  • Mood Swings - This symptom tends to occur before the swelling flare up begins. 

It’s important to note that symptoms and swelling don’t occur forever. They regress and then they flare up. People can have a variety of different triggers which cause these flare ups. Some people have them during times of anxiety or great stress. Some minor illnesses like a cold or flu can function as a trigger. Medications can be a common trigger, as can undergoing surgery or becoming injured. Common triggers also include basic physical activities like using a lawn mower, typing at a computer or gardening. 

Treatment of Hereditary Angioedema

Medications is usually the main form of treatment. Medication is used to treat the symptoms of flare ups, but are also used in an effort to reduce or prevent them from happening. Some people can also need to be hooked up to an IV for fluids or receive some oxygen through an oxygen tank. 

One of the most important aspects of treatment is trigger management. By learning what kind of triggers can cause swelling in your body, you can work on lifestyle options to try and avoid triggers and avoid suffering from swelling incidents in the first place.

Disclaimer: Information on this website is not meant to encourage the self-management of any health or wellness issue. Nor is it meant to encourage any one type of medical treatment. Any treatment or advice used may have varying results between individuals. Readers with health-related questions, are always encouraged to seek proper consultation with a physician or certified healthcare provider. No information on this website should be used to ignore any medical or health-related advice, nor should it be the root cause for a delay in a consultation with a physician or a certified healthcare provider.

No information on this website should be used to start the use of dietary supplements and vitamins, natural and herbal products, homeopathic medicine and other mentioned products prior to a consultation with a physician or certified healthcare provider.