Wednesday 05 December 2018 - forpatient
Being allergic is not rare condition, in fact, almost everyone have antihistaminic drugs at home, and sometimes we can easily predict when we are having a cough attack after some dust storm. But, in some cases, this can affect the way we enjoy one of the most pleasurable things in the world: Food.
The cases of food allergy could increase due to different factors such as: changes in food routines and food manufacturing, incorporation into the local diet of products from other cultures, increase in the number of caesarean sections and changes in the bacterial flora (microbiome) of people.
All of us, from birth to death, are exposed to the environment where we live, and our health will depend on the capacity for the immune response that will affect the impact of the diseases we suffer. The immune system is the one that watches that everything is working well in our organism, like the security forces, our army-police, the one that controls our customs, allowing the passage of the beneficial substances and avoiding those harmful agents that damage our bodies, like virus and bacteria.
In allergy occurs a "wrong reaction" to "things", allergens. These are elements we are in contact regularly (dust, plants, animals, food, drugs). They would not have to alter our immune system, thus, inflammatory reactions are produced, which give rise to the typical allergy symptoms. These symptoms will depend on the responsible substance, for example, rhinitis and conjunctivitis due to olive pollen (the nose and eyes become inflamed), asthma due to dust mites (the bronchi are inflamed) or hives due to eating a peach (the skin becomes inflamed).
Allergies are born of a sensitization that causes the creation of antibodies, not intolerances. For example, the term solar allergy is incorrect: there are no antibodies against ultraviolet radiation. The same goes for lactose, which causes an enzymatic reaction without antibodies
But ... why is this mistake made? There is really not a single cause, probably due to a combination of genetic and environmental factors that, in addition, it must occur at a certain time in someone´s life, like childhood. When one of these agents is recognized as an enemy for us, and our body overreacts, we feel the symptoms of allergy, causing from a rash to a mortal dyspnea. Scientifics says today´s world is more aseptic than the past century, and this prevents our early contact to particles that cause sensibility, making us prone to allergies. Very complicated!
Almost everything can cause allergy, but the most common food allergies are:
It usually occurs during childhood (the first months) and in many cases, it disappears after a few years of life. The only solution is to replace milk and dairy products with other products that are not of animal origin such as soy milk, almonds, rice, etc.
It also usually occurs in childhood and often disappears between the first and second year of life and about 70% of children end up being cured. In adults, it is also quite strange. The treatment for people who have an allergy to eggs is based on maintaining a diet completely free of this product and should pay special attention because many foods contain eggs without the consumer knows: pastries, pasta, sauces, cosmetics (when the person is allergic to contact), etc.
Seafood and fish
It is a much more frequent allergy, especially to shellfish, being more common in adults than children. In the case of fish, most allergies are usually to white fish and can last a lifetime. Thanks to this, many restaurants that manipulate fish are being very careful not mixing this ingredient with others no-fish plates.
Nuts, legumes, and cereals
Legumes such as soybeans, lentils, peas or chickpeas and nuts such as peanuts are the foods to which allergies are normally due. As for cereals, the prevalence of this allergy is quite low and usually disappears with age. We recommend paying close attention to the labels of the products. There are traces of nuts in many products so you must be very attentive.
Vegetables and fruits
It is the most common cause of reactions in children over 5 years old and adults. The most common fruit to produce an allergic reaction is peach. As for vegetables, the most allergic are vegetables (lettuce, carrot, tomato...).
Regarding food intolerances, the most common are those related to gluten, lactose, and histamine.
It is a glycoprotein present in cereals such as wheat, rye, barley, and oats. Those who suffer from celiac disease, when they ingest gluten, produce an inflammatory reaction in the intestine that causes weight loss, vomiting, fatigue, abdominal pain, etc.
It consists of a sugar that is present in any mammalian milk (cow, goat, sheep). People who are lactose intolerant do not have enough enzyme from the lactase in the small intestine to digest all the lactose consumed by what passes into the large intestine and causes pain, abdominal swelling, etc.
Am I allergic?
Maybe you are wondering if there´s anything you might be allergic to. But before going to a specialist, you must remember if there´s anything you ate, be in contact with, that could cause some of the reactions talked above. If you can´t identify the element or factor, then you might think about visiting an allergologist. The doctor who studies the allergies. He/She will make some tests on you:
Skin Test: Drops that contain a known amount of the allergen to which we can be sensitive are applied to the skin of the arm. The basis of this technique is to reproduce in the skin the reaction that we present in other parts of the body.
In addition, it is possible to perform blood tests, which can more accurately quantify and demonstrate the presence of specific antibodies against this allergen.
In the case of food, sometimes a provocation test has to be carried out, which consists of observing under medical supervision the reaction that occurs after the food is ingested.
It is a truth that allergies are increasing over the years but the information about them is more available as well, being more careful about the possible things someone might be allergic to can prevent a complicated situation. If you are worried about your health always remember to get to your doctor, prevention is first!
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