The answer to yesterday's medical challenge was #1 angioedema. The patient had progressive swelling on the face and had previously had swelling of the larynx, trunk and extremities. A diagnosis of hereditary angioedema was made from a blood test.
Angioedema just means swelling under the skin. Spots of angioedema are called "hives" and they are usually from an allergic reaction. Histamines and other chemicals are released by certain types of white blood cells when an allergen is detected. This can occur because of insect bites, animal dander, pollen, food allergies, and certain medications. People with hereditary angioedema, a rare condition, lack a certain protein (C-1 esterase) that is part of the body's immune system. The swelling can come on quickly and be dangerous if it limits breathing through the larynx.
For more common hives (urticaria) or angioedema, antihistamines are the best treatment and avoidance of the allergen.
Thanks for your diagnoses.