Food Allergies Are Everywhere
Food allergies are common and affect many people of all ages. Food allergies can affect people in different ways. An allergic reaction to food occurs when your body mistakes the food for something that is dangerous and could make you sick.
This makes your immune system respond to protect you against the supposed threat. Some people may have severe reactions that may be fatal, and others may find their allergies to be a nuisance. Common food allergies include shellfish, eggs, wheat, soy, tree nuts, peanuts, fish, and milk. Keep reading to learn more about food allergies.
Food Allergies Symptoms
Food allergies vary greatly in severity. Some people may experience an allergic reaction that may be life-threatening and severe. Other people may just feel uncomfortable and unwell when experiencing a food allergy. Food allergy symptoms often occur a few minutes or a couple hours after ingesting the offending food. The most common food allergy symptoms include:
- Tingling in the mouth
- Abdominal pain
- Trouble breathing
- Swelling of certain parts of the body including the lips, face, throat and tongue
Severe Food Allergy Symptoms
Food allergies can cause severe reactions in some people which is known as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis can be fatal if not treated quickly. The symptoms of a severe allergy include:
- Constricting of the airways
- Swollen throat
- Difficulty breathing
- Severe drop in blood pressure
- Fast pulse
- Loss of consciousness
It is very important that anaphylaxis is treated immediately. If anaphylaxis is left untreated it can cause a coma or be fatal.
Food Allergy Treatment
The most effective treatment for food allergies is to avoid the known allergen. There are also medications that can allow for mild allergic reactions to be managed. If a person has serious allergic reaction certain medications and an action plan for help should be in place. It is also important for a person with food allergies to carry a medical alert card or wear a medical ID bracelet to let others know about their allergies.
Lactose intolerance is a type of condition that makes a person unable to fully digest the lactose found in milk. Lactose intolerance can cause uncomfortable symptoms due to the lactose not being properly absorbed. The symptoms of lactose intolerance usually occur shortly after dairy products are consumed. Most people with lactose intolerance will have a deficiency in the type of enzyme made in the small intestine. Not all people who have these low levels will be lactose intolerant. Lactose intolerance can often be managed with dietary changes and medications.
Lactose Intolerance Symptoms
The symptoms of lactose intolerance often occur shortly after consuming lactose (generally within 30 minutes to 2 hours). Common symptoms of lactose intolerance include:
- Abdominal pain
Lactose intolerance is often diagnosed based on the symptoms. A person may want to keep a detailed journal of what they eat and their symptoms so that they can show their doctor. The doctor may also conduct the following tests:
- Lactose tolerance test
- This test involves drinking a liquid that contains high levels of lactose. A couple hours after drinking the liquid a blood test will be done to measure how much glucose is in the blood. If the body is not properly absorbing the lactose, the glucose level will not rise.
- Hydrogen breath test
- This test involves drinking a liquid that contains high levels of lactose. The amount of hydrogen in a person’s breath is then measured at certain intervals. If the body doesn’t properly digest the lactose, it will ferment in the colon. Higher amounts of exhaled hydrogen indicate that the body is not properly digesting lactose.
- Stool acidity test
- This test is often used for children who cannot undergo other tests. A stool sample will be tested for certain acids including lactic acid which are signs of undigested lactose.
Gluten is a type of protein that is found in wheat, barley, and rye. Often, people think that they have a gluten allergy, but they may have a condition known as celiac disease, non-celiac gluten sensitivity, dermatitis herpetiformis or gluten ataxia. Celiac disease is a digestive condition that can cause serious issues if it is not treated. Celiac disease can be tested for by using blood tests that will look for certain antibodies. There are currently no tests available to accurately diagnose non-celiac gluten-related issues. Celiac disease can cause a wide range of symptoms including diarrhea, fatigue, excessive bruising and bleeding, anemia, nausea, bloating, rash, weight loss, abdominal pain and more. The symptoms of a gluten sensitivity include bloating, belly pain, anxiety, headache, fatigue and more. Treatment for those who have celiac disease, or a gluten sensitivity is to completely avoid eating gluten. Most people who suffer from celiac disease or a gluten sensitivity find that they feel much better once they have eliminated gluten from their diet and that their symptoms go away.
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