Food and Environmental Allergies
What is an allergy?
the word "allerg" is derived from the greek
words meaning "altered reaction". An allergic reaction
occures when the immune system "overreacts" to a substance
by identifying it as an invading organism, provoking a chain of
defensive physical reactions in the body.
are the Symptoms?
You may be familliar with some of the
more common allergy symptoms, such as asthma, sneezing, and skin
rashes. But you may not know that allergies can affect every major
system and organ in the body, causing recurrent infections, body
pains, fatigue, anxiety, depression, and a host of other symptoms.
Symptoms Always Immediate?
Although many allergic reactions occur soon or immediatley after
exposure to the offending substance, researchers are finding that,
more and more, reactions are often delayed-and may occur for hours
or even days after exposure. One study reported that nearly 60%
of patients with food intolerance experienced delayed, rather than
immediate, reactions to provoking foods.
The substance which provokes an allergic reaction is called an allergic
can be a substance that is ingested, such as milk, corn, fish, or
other foods. Allergens can also be substances in the surrounding
environment, such as house dust, animal dander, chemicals, bacteria
and pollens, which induce allergic reactions after being touched
is it Important to Identify Allergens?
People who choose to treat their allergy symptoms using antihistamines
and other drugs may not realize that chronic use of those drugs
can dampen the immune system, placing them at increased risk of
developing infections and malignant tumors. What's more, these drugs
often have unpleasant side effects, including drowsiness, hypertension,
weight gain, and even diabetes. That's why it's important to be
tested, so your physician can directly treat the causes of your
allergic reactions, instead of the symptoms.
if you only suffer from low-grade symptoms (of which you may not
be aware), it is important to identify all of your body's know allergens.
Allergic responses, following periods of infection or stress, can
create more severe and more varied symptoms. Over time, allergies
place cumulative stress on the body's immune system, which can result
in more serious conditions such as migraines, arthritis, gastrointestinal
disorders, and autoimmune diseases.
Why are Allergies Increasing?
No one knows for sure why allergies are on the rise. Some scientist believe that increased chemical pollution in our air, water, and food is causing an esculation in the frequency and severity of allergic reactions. And most commercial foods now contain hundreds of hidden ingredients - both natural and sythetic - that have been identified as agents in many allergic reactions. Genetic manipulation of plants, less diversity in the average diet, and poor digestive function have also been suggested as contributing factors.
How Common are Allergies?
Allergies have been around for a long time. A case of food allergy was recorded over 2000 years ago by the ancient greek physician Hippocrates, who observed that milk could cause gastric upset and hives. In modern times, food and environmental allergies have increased dramatically. It has been estimated that at least 60% of the American population suffers from symptoms associated with food reactions. some physicians even claim that food allergies are now the leading cause of most undiagnosed symptoms.