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Are Food Allergies Affecting You?
Food allergies happen when your body’s defense system, called the immune system triggers immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies to bind with a food protein (the allergen). This activates cells throughout the body to release large amount of chemicals such as histamine. Allergic reactions can occur throughout the body such as the respiratory system, digestive tract, skin, eyes, ears, throat, or cardiovascular system.
Reactions usually occur within a few minutes to an hour after eating the offending food. You may first feel itching in your mouth as you start to eat the food.
Other symptoms include stuffy, itchy nose, swelling of the lips, face, tongue, throat, or other parts of your body, vomiting, diarrhea, sneezing, itchy, watery eyes, stomach cramps, red, itchy skin or a rash.
True food allergies usually begin in the first or second year of life. Childhood allergies may be converted into other “allergic” conditions like eczema or respiratory illnesses. About 40% of adults and up to 8% of children have a food allergy.
What Foods Commonly Trigger Allergic Reactions?
The foods that most often cause allergic reactions in adults are the same for women and men. They include shellfish, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, milk, eggs, wheat, and soybeans.
Food allergies can be life threatening.
For some people, an allergic reaction to a food is uncomfortable but not serious; for others, an allergic food reaction can lead to death. A life-threatening reaction caused by an allergy is called anaphylaxis.
For these people, even the smallest amount of exposure – eating a food or even touching someone who is eating the food – can be dangerous. If you have anaphylactic reactions to certain foods, your doctor may give you a prescription for injectable epinephrine. You need to carry this medicine with you at all times so that you or someone you are with can give you an emergency injection if needed. Symptoms of anaphylaxis include hoarseness, throat tightness, or a lump in your throat, wheezing, chest tightness, or trouble breathing, rapid heart rate, dizziness, lightheadedness, or fainting, tingling in the hands, feet, lips, or scalp, and clammy, grayish, or bluish skin.
Food Sensitivity and Food Intolerance
If you are not suffering from a true food allergy you may be experiencing a food sensitivity, or symptoms of a food intolerance, which will be addressed in a future article.
Do You Think You Have a True Allergy?
A study from Bastyr University has shown that a single person’s blood sent to a number of laboratories for food allergy testing had very different results depending on the lab the blood was sent to. Unfortunately, this kind of testing can be inaccurate. Nutritional Response Testing® can be used to analyze the body to determine the underlying causes of ill or non-optimum health.