What are the symptoms of
hereditary angioedema (HAE)?
The symptoms of HAE can include attacks of swelling that can happen anywhere in the body. These episodes can be painful and disabling, and can sometimes make it difficult to perform everyday tasks. In cases involving the throat, or airway, an HAE attack even has the potential to become life-threatening. For this reason, many people with HAE live in fear of this type of attack.
HAE symptoms vary greatly from person to person. HAE symptoms can also change within the same person. For instance, the frequency of attacks might increase as a patient enters adolescence.
My attacks started coming more frequently and strongly. Random parts of my body—including my elbows, feet and forearms—would swell.
What are the signs of an HAE attack?
Before an HAE attack, some people experience a tingling sensation in the affected area. It’s also not uncommon for people to get a non-raised, non-itchy rash before the swelling begins. When untreated, the swelling in an HAE attack usually increases over a 24-hour period and then gradually subsides during the next 48–72 hours. An HAE attack can also start in one location and then spread to another before getting better.
What are the characteristic areas affected by HAE attacks?
Swelling in the throat, or a laryngeal attack, happens less frequently than skin or abdominal attacks, but it is the most serious. Swelling in the throat can become life-threatening because it can lead to suffocation. If you have an attack affecting the throat, you should seek emergency care right away.
Every person with HAE may be at risk for a laryngeal
of people with HAE experience at least one HAE attack that causes swelling in the throat at some point in their lives.‡
‡In a survey of 209 patients.