Chrissy Teigen Shows Off Swollen Lips as a Result of Altitude Sickness—Here's How That Happens
"Utah has chosen to poison me."
Chrissy Teigen has never been one to shy away from sharing her health, uh, debacles, with the public. Last week, the Bring The Funny host shared that she received Botox injections into her armpits to help curb her excessive sweating—and this week's issue is even weirder than the last. (No shade, Chrissy—we love you, your openness, and your medical stories!)
On Saturday, Teigen posted a series of tweets that revealed she was "very upset and saddened that my own birth state, Utah, has chosen to poison me with terrible altitude sickness."
Teigen, who was in Utah for her friend's wedding, followed up her first tweet with a photo of her very-swollen lips. "Did you know angioedema can be triggered from altitude sickness?" she wrote. "Learn something new every day! my lip about to explode. goodbye world"
"It’s so big it’s shiny and hard like glass," she added in a follow-up tweet So um, ouch—but can that really happen?
You bet. Angioedema, or a swelling caused by an accumulation of fluid underneath the skin typically around he eyes, cheeks, or in Teigen's case, the mouth. While it's usually caused by an allergy to a medication, food, or insect bites, according to the U.S. National Library of Medicine, the University Health Service at the University of Michigan says it may also be caused by other factors like altitude sickness from being exposed to high altitudes. (FYI: Edema, or swelling, isn't necessarily a symptom of altitude sickness, but it can occur, according to a case report in the Journal of Travel Medicine.)
Luckily, a little lip swelling was the only altitude sickness side effect that Teigen reported—but altitude sickness can be much more harmful than that. Basically, altitude sickness (also known as acute mountain sickness) occurs when our bodies go “too high, too fast, and don’t allow their bodies time to adapt to the lack of ambient pressure and the lack of relative oxygen,” Jan Stepanek, MD, who sees patients at the Mayo Clinic’s High Altitude and Harsh Environments Medical Center in Scottsdale, Arizona, previously told Health. “Our bodies are equipped to make this adjustment, but it ideally takes time.”
According to Dr. Stepanek, mild signs of altitude sickness include headaches and nausea, but if it progresses (if a person keeps traveling up to higher elevations too quickly) it can lead to vomiting, disorientation, fluid in the lungs, and swelling around the brain—all of which can be fatal if not treated quickly.
The good news: Teigen seems to be doing better now—and despite her health scare she still managed to look flawless, but honestly, that's no surprise to us.
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