The swellings can occur on any part of the body, but generally occur on the face, around the eyes and lips, inside the mouth and throat and on the tongue. In most of the incidences these reactions resolve by themselves. In some cases when affecting the tongue or throat, the swelling may block the airway and become life threatening.
Angioedema is an immune response to pathogens and triggering factors. It results in production of inflammatory mediators such as histamine by the basophils and mast cells. The resultant inflammatory responses lead to dilation and leakage of blood vessels causing fluid accumulation in the intercellular spaces. In most of the incidences the exact cause may not be known. However many angioedema swelling triggering factors are known. The swelling is usually treated with antihistamine medications.
Medical definitions of angioedema
Wordnetweb.princeton.edu/perl/webwn: "recurrent large circumscribed areas of subcutaneous edema; onset is sudden and it disappears within 24 hours; seen mainly in young women, often as an allergic reaction to food or drugs."
According to thefreedictionary.com: "angioedema, a vascular reaction involving the deep dermis or subcutaneous or submucosal tissues, representing localized edema caused by dilatation and increased permeability of the capillaries, and characterized by the development of giant wheals."
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