Health Check Podcast: A rare disease that causes unprovoked recurrent swellings

ST senior health correspondent Joyce Teo (left) and TTSH senior consultant Dr Tan Sze-Chin in the podcast studio. ST PHOTO: EDEN SOH

Synopsis: Every first and third Wednesday of the month, The Straits Times helps you make sense of health matters that affect you.

In Singapore, around 2,000-3,000 people have a rare disease. One of them is Hereditary Angioedema or HAE, which is a rare genetic disorder that results in recurrent unprovoked swelling of various sites of the body, including the stomach, genitals or throat. 

There are about 20 HAE cases in Singapore, and Tan Tock Seng Hospital manages the largest pool of HAE patients among the public hospitals. 

In this episode, ST senior health correspondent Joyce Teo finds out more about it from Dr Tan Sze-Chin, a Senior Consultant from the Department of Rheumatology, Allergy & Immunology at TTSH. He talks about the need for early screening and detection because acute swelling of the larynx can block the airway and result in fatal consequences. TTSH has set up a local HAE registry.

Highlights (click/tap above):

1:16 Frequency of Hereditary Angioedema (HAE) attacks; what actions can individuals take to manage them?

5:45 What can you do if you are diagnosed with HAE

7:37 If you have symptoms, where should you go for help?

15:47 If you are an index case, what can you do?

18:44 Difficulties in caring for individuals with HAE

Produced by: Joyce Teo (, Ernest Luis and Eden Soh

Edited by: Eden Soh

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