Food Allergy – Important facts about this medical condition

What does food allergy mean?

Food allergy is a very common medical condition that actually makes the body overreacts to a certain food. This problem is found in millions of people around the world and sometimes it is not given enough attention or importance.  Food allergies can be severe and thus it is always best to treat the disease in its primary phase. It can be life-threatening and affects a huge part of the population. It is said that in the USA one in every thirteen children has some kind of food allergy. The reactions of the food allergy can be alarming and can even send the patient to hospitals.

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What are the common causes of food allergies?

Allergy from a food happens when your immune system overreacts to a certain food especially protein. The cause of food allergy will vary from one person to another and thus there can be numerous causes. However, the common causes of food allergy come from:

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  • Hereditary – Food allergies, it has been seen comes from genes. It is quite commonly found in children who get affected by a food as that of their parents.
  • Hay fever or eczema – If you already have some allergy like hay fever or eczema then you may also get allergic to certain food.
  • Asthma – Asthmatic patients can have food allergies especially during the winters.

However, do not confuse food allergy with food intolerance. You need to confirm it from a specialist doctor.

The symptoms of food allergies

Food allergies happen from protein-based food such as milk, peanuts, fish, tree nuts, wheat, shellfish such as prawn and crab, soy, eggs and certain seeds. The symptoms of food allergy are many. It can involve the gastrointestinal tract, skin, cardiovascular organs as well as the respiratory tract. Here is a list of a few common types:

  • Breathlessness or shortness of the breath
  • Stomach cramps or vomiting
  • Coughing incessantly
  • Wheezing
  • Hives
  • Trouble in swallowing food
  • Hoarse throat
  • Tightness inside the throat
  • Sudden circulatory collapse or shock
  • Weakening of pulse
  • Swelling of tongue
  • Dizziness
  • Anaphylaxis
  • Skin turning pale or blue

The symptoms of food allergy build up gradually and if they are not treated at the primary symptoms then it can turn life-threatening as Anaphylaxis. Thus treatment or prevention of food allergy is must for everyone.

Diagnosis and treatment of food allergy

The diagnosis of food allergy is done on the basis of the types of symptoms. One food can have different symptoms and reactions among different person. So to diagnose a food allergy two of the most tried and successful methods that are used include:

  • Blood test
  • Skin Test

These two tests diagnose the food-specific IgE or Immunoglobulin antibodies that are present in the patient’s body.

The best way to cure food allergy is to prevent it. If you have been diagnosed with a high IgE then it is best to avoid eating those foods that contain the allergens. However, if it gets serious then you should consult a doctor for the administration of medicines. Severe symptoms and reactions may also need the patient to be admitted to the hospital for treatment.