Attack Triggers: What causes HAE attacks? 

Common causes of HAE attacks:

  • Anxiety

  • Stress

  • Minor trauma

  • Surgery

  • Sickness such as cold or flu

Patients have also reported swelling in extremities following:

  • Typing

  • Prolonged writing

  • Pushing a lawn mower

  • Hammering & Shovelling

  • Other physical activities

In women, menstruation and pregnancy are reported to have a major effect on disease activity. Some female patients report a definite increase in the number of attacks during their menstrual periods, pregnancy, or while breast feeding.

Use of estrogen-derived medicines, such as oral contraceptives and hormone replacement therapy, are also associated with an increase in frequency and severity of HAE attacks.

Patients should consult with their HAE treating physician regarding alternative, non-estrogen, birth control options.

Trauma to the mouth caused by dental procedures can increase patients’ vulnerability to airway attacks. Patients should confer wtih their HAE treating physician before undergoing dental procedures.

Often used to treat high blood pressure, ACE Inhibitors have been known to increase the frequency and severity of HAE attacks. Please consult your HAE treating physician if you are currently taking an ACE Inhibitor or any other drugs that might affect your HAE symptoms.