With today's modern medicine, misdiagnoses may be unexpected and surprising. But when symptoms of an unknown and uncommon illness mimic a number of other conditions, it can be difficult for medical professionals to properly diagnose and treat patients. That's why four leading allergy/immunology organizations have announced the release of a report to help set a new standard for a commonly misdiagnosed, under-recognized and under treated condition known as angioedema, the rapid swelling of deep layers of skin and tissue.
This report, titled International Consensus (ICON) on Hereditary and Acquired Angioedema, was released today during the Annual Scientific Meeting of the American College of Allergy, Asthma and Immunology (ACAAI) in Anaheim, Calif. It is the latest ICON from the International Collaboration in Asthma, Allergy and Immunology (iCAALL), a joint project of the ACAAI, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology (AAAAI), the European Academy of Allergy and Clinical Immunology (EAACI) and the World Allergy Organization (WAO).
"There is an international lack of understanding, consensus-driven information and general recommendations for angioedema," said David M. Lang, M.D., chair of the ICON Hereditary and Acquired Angioedema and ACAAI Fellow. "This ICON report will help ensure the proper diagnosis and management of hereditary and acquired angioedema, while helping patients with these conditions find relief and live healthy, active lifestyles."
Angioedema is similar to urticaria (hives) since the two conditions have a similar mechanism. However, swelling caused by angioedema is below the surface of the skin, sometimes in addition to above-surface welts. Some forms of angioedema are hereditary. A more common form of angioedema may occur in a subgroup of patients taking ACE inhibitors, a class of medications commonly prescribed for patients with high blood pressure of heart conditions.
Symptoms experienced by patients with angioedema may include swollen eyes and mouth, swelling of the hands and feet, difficulty breathing, stomach cramping, or the swelling of the lining of the eyes. For patients with hereditary or acquired angioedema, symptoms may occur after trauma in association with infections, an allergic reaction or with other illnesses.
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