Living With Hereditary Angioedema
Inaccurate and delayed diagnosis, lack of awareness, side effects of therapies, and the unpredictability of attacks are among the factors contributing to depression in HAE patients. Mental stress is one of the most common triggers of HAE attacks. As a result, depression itself may also cause attacks, resulting in a vicious cycle of depression and attacks.
Gastrointestinal swelling can happen in different types of angioedema, but is more common in HAE. Patients with gastrointestinal swelling usually experience nausea, loss of appetite, bouts of vomiting, and diarrhea. When at their most severe, gastrointestinal swelling caused by HAE may lead to shock, which can be life-threatening.
Hereditary angioedema attacks are mostly spontaneous, but they may also be triggered by certain factors such as allergens, hormonal fluctuations, physical activities or injuries, as well as stress. Each patient has a different set of factors that may trigger their attacks; identifying and avoiding these can significantly improve disease management.
Women are more predisposed to hereditary angioedema attacks than men; this is thought to be due to higher levels of estrogen in their body. In pregnancy, estrogen levels are even higher, so the disease may get worse. A temporary increase in the number of episodes may also occur during breastfeeding.