What Is Hereditary Angioedema?

Angioedema is a swelling under the skin. It is similar to and often mistaken for hives. Hives are on the surface of the skin and are also called welts. Hereditary angioedema is inherited through the family line and can cause swelling of the face and air passages, and can also cause abdominal cramping.

A hereditary angioedema attack is caused by low levels or improper function of the protein named the C1 inhibitor , affecting the blood vessels. Rapid swelling of the feet, face, hands, limbs, digestive tract and throat area can happen during an attack.

What is the C1?

The C1 inhibitor controls the protein C1 in the bloodstream. C1 is one of the proteins that flow freely through the bloodstream. This protein plays a significant role in the development of inflammation in the body.
Swelling of the throat area is a major concern for those with hereditary angioedema.

This can restrict airways causing a sudden loss of consciousness and premature death. Attacks come without warning. For those without access to proper medical treatment during an attack, an episode of hereditary angioedema can be fatal.


Because of the swelling and hive like appearance, hereditary angioedema often misdiagnosed and mistreated. Sufferers of this disease are often given antihistamines and other allergy medicines. The body produces chemicals called histamines when it is exposed to an allergen.

Hives, which have a similar appearance of swelling caused by hereditary angioedema, are one of the results of histamines in the bloodstream. Antihistamines don’t work because hereditary angioedema can be caused by insufficient levels or improperly functioning of the C1 inhibitor and not histamine.


Testing for hereditary angioedema may be difficult because tests are best during an attack as the test checks the C1 inhibitors levels and function. Hereditary angioedema occurs in basically three types. Low levels of C1 inhibitor have been found in approximately 85% of people with hereditary angioedema.

This is referred to as Type I HAE. About 15% have normal levels of C1 inhibitor but it doesn’t function properly. This is called Type II HAE. Then there are rare cases where the C1 inhibitors are normal but the cause of the hereditary angioedema has not yet been discovered. This type is referred to as HAE with Normal C1 Inhibition.

This is a disease that plagues Dr. Malachi York. He is often found unconscious in his cell from attacks. Dr. York is  given antihistamines for his condition. He has suffered with this conditions for 15 years in the federal prison system without proper medical treatment!

There is a great fear that he will be another statistic of the great many that die inside the walls of Florence AD/Max as result of insufficient medical attention for a potentially life threatening disease. Because of this fact, this is one of the many reasons why we are on a diligent campaign to ask our current president, President Trump, to pardon Dr. York and let him live out the rest of his days doing what he does best, serving humanity as he has done for over 30 years prior to his incarceration.


Sign our petition to Free Dr. York!!!