Hereditary angioedema (HAE) is a genetic disorder that can be complex and difficult to understand. Here, we’ll try to help make sense of exactly what goes on in your body during a sudden HAE attack.
In most HAE patients, a diagnostic test will reveal that they either have low or poorly functioning C1 esterase inhibitor (C1-INH), which is a protein in the blood. C1-INH’s role is to attach to and control a protein called plasma kallikrein; however, without enough functioning C1-INH, plasma kallikrein is not properly controlled. This results in a buildup of a chemical called bradykinin, which causes blood vessels to leak fluid. This extra fluid is what causes the swelling under your skin.
The video below demonstrates this process in action. We hope it will help you better understand exactly how this disease impacts your body.