Food allergy means an abnormal immune response to a food component. In most of the cases, the triggering allergen is a food protein. Food allergy occurs when the adverse immune reactions to the triggering allergen are disproportionate to its harm causing potential, and all the damage to body tissues and symptoms are due to this abnormal immune response rather than due to effects of any food protein.
Foods That Trigger Allergies
Almost any food protein may cause food allergy, but some of the most common ones are proteins found in eggs, peanuts, shellfish, soy, wheat and milk. The food allergies are often first detected in the childhood, although it can appear at any age. Many times, children outgrow their allergies by avoiding the allergy causing food in childhood, although some allergies may persist for life.
Sometime allergy may also be caused by food additives like dyes and preservatives. The inflammatory response triggered by allergen is very variable and may cause different symptoms in different individuals and even different symptoms triggered by different allergens in same individuals. The symptoms are not always confined to the gastrointestinal system only, and other organ systems may also be involved. It is not rare to find almost no gastrointestinal symptoms, but symptoms of other organ systems as sole manifestation of the food allergy. In few cases, this allergic inflammatory response triggered by an allergen may cause anaphylaxis, a potentially life-threatening condition.
Symptoms of Food Allergies
Symptoms of food allergies are variable and sometimes may be very difficult to attribute to food allergies. The most common symptoms are difficulty in swallowing, itching of mouth, throat, eyes or skin of the face, nausea and vomiting, abdominal pain, runny nose, diarrhea, stomach cramps, swelling of face, lips, tongue and eyelids, etc. A person may also have respiratory systems like shortness of breath and wheezing, or worsening of asthma. Skin manifestation of allergic response sometimes may be the sole presentation, but often they occur together with at least some of the gastrointestinal symptoms. These include hives, eczema or only itching on skin of various parts of the body. Neurological symptoms may also be present, and the peripheral neuropathy is the most common presentation. It may often be associated with other symptoms, or could also be the only symptom in rare cases.
If an allergy is found, avoiding the allergen is often the only choice. The persons should also consult an allergy specialist. Children may outgrow certain food allergies by the age of 5 years, although some allergies may persist for life. It is often advised to carry injectable forms of epinephrine like EpiPen for anaphylaxis, although anaphylaxis is rare with allergy syndromes. Breastfeeding has been found to help in preventing allergies.
About The Author
Dr. Marc Ott, D.C. was fascinated with Chiropractic’s philosophy that taught that a person could heal from within, without the use of drugs, surgery or their harmful side effects. After graduating with his doctorate degree in chiropractic he opened what is today Integrative Physical Medicine of Orlando where he has been making changes in people’s lives every day.
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