Understanding Food Allergies
If a food usually gives you indigestion, does that mean you have a food allergy?
Food allergies seem to be getting more common all the time. Experts agree that this is true but are currently not clear on exactly why it is happening. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 4% of adults are affected by food allergies and even more children; as many as 6%. Possible reasons for the increase range from pollution, vitamin deficiency and gastrointestinal tract issues to changes in the weaning practices of babies.
There is a difference in food intolerance and an actual food allergy. Lactose intolerance, a reaction to dairy, is a good example of food intolerance. It creates digestive issues, which can also be symptomatic of an allergic reaction, but a true food allergy affects the body’s immune system. Even a tiny amount of a particular food can be perceived as a threat by the immune system which immediately mobilizes to protect the body by creating antibodies specifically for that food. The next time it is eaten the resulting reaction can create a range of symptoms that can reach the level of life-threatening.
In the U.S., roughly 200,000 people end up in the emergency room every year due to food allergies, with the most common reaction being to peanuts. The other foods that top the list of common allergens are shellfish, cow’s milk, eggs, soy, wheat, fish and tree nuts.
Food Allergy Symptoms
Symptoms can vary, depending upon the individual and type of food, but some of the more common symptoms include:
- Dizziness or a feeling of being lightheaded
- Swelling, typically in the lips, tongue and throat, but can be experienced in other areas of the body
- Tingling in the mouth
- Itching sensation in the mouth
- Difficulty breathing, sometimes experienced as wheezing
- Nasal congestion
- Abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting or diarrhea
Types Of Food Allergy Reactions
The most serious and frightening result of a food allergy is anaphylaxis. Symptoms typically involve a closing of the airways, severely swollen tongue, rapid drop in blood pressure and the possibility of coma and even death if not treated in time. Anaphylaxis is more commonly seen with peanut and nut allergies.
We have come a long way on our journey of discovering how the different parts of the human body work together. While there is no question that this is true, there is a real paradox in effect because it seems that the more we know the less we understand. Perhaps this isn’t true with medical professionals, but it sure feels that way for most everyone else. Headlines today are disputing, if not totally disproving, what were deemed to be the recommended practices of yesterday.
This confusion is true with general health topics and, perhaps, even more so when it comes to food issues, especially weight loss, which we at least now understand is far more complex than simply cutting calories and getting on the treadmill. Overwhelmed with conflicting health programs and diet books and discouraged from failed attempts to get body weight under control, many people are seeking professional guidance in understanding their metabolic profile. Discovering food allergies is a part of this process.
The Southern California Center for Anti-Aging focuses on the practice of advanced, preventive and regenerative medicine. We strongly believe correcting imbalances and deficiencies in nutrition, along with improving fitness and balancing and restoring hormones with Bioidentical Hormone Replacement Therapy, can help with creating the foundation for a healthier and happier life. We use a wide range of advanced testing and analysis, including food allergy testing, to ensure the best results for our clients. To learn more about our programs or if you have questions about any of our services, take advantage of our Free Consultation by filling out our convenient online form below.
Holistic Health & Functional Medicine @ SoCalBHRT