Vital Signs: Read Her Lips

Does a patient with a swollen upper lip suffer from allergies, or is the symptom a clue to a much rarer condition?

By Robert A. Norman|Wednesday, October 31, 2012
Shirley W. was a patient I had often seen for minor complaints and skin checks. But after a call for an urgent appointment, she was now sitting on my exam table with a problem she had never had before. 
“Dr. Norman,” she asked worriedly, “What the heck is going on with me?” It was obvious why she was so concerned. Shirley’s upper lip was grossly swollen, puffed up to almost three times the size of her lower lip. My 38-year-old patient otherwise looked healthy,...

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