Home » Health » Diseases and Conditions

What are Food Allergies?

May 22, 2008
Have eating peanuts or other food made you sick even to the point of going to the hospital? This could be caused by food allergies. An allergic reaction to food occurs when the body responds immunologically to proteins in the food. The reaction can be minor or it can be very serious as in the case of anaphylaxis which can result in death.

The response to a food allergy can take many different forms and affect different body systems. For instance, in the digestive system a person can experience cramps, nausea, diarrhea, vomiting or abdominal pain. These can be similar to symptoms of irritable bowel syndrome or Lactose Intolerance, so it is very important to get properly diagnosed in order to receive the correct treatment.

In the respiratory system, food allergies could manifest as runny nose, scratchy throat, coughing, sneezing, or wheezing. Severe reactions may be seen as shortness of breath or difficulty swallowing. If you experience the more severe reactions it is recommended you seek medical attention immediately.

Food allergies can result in reactions in the skin. Hives and eczema, itching in the membranes of the throat, eyes, mouth and skin can occur. More severe reactions such as swelling of the face, tongue, lips or face must be treated immediately since airway restriction could occur.

The symptoms may affect your nervous system and sometimes the connection between mood swings and depression is not always easily recognizable.

Most food allergies are classified as a Immunoglobulin E (IgE) response. This means that antibodies are produced in the body that attack non-disease causing substances which in the case of food allergies is the proteins found in certain foods. Many folks are predisposed to this type of immune response. When the food passes into the digestive tract the body releases IgE which also causes other chemicals such as histamines to be released. This causes swelling and in the case of the digestive tract this will appear as an upset stomach.

Skin prick and blood tests are some of the tests an allergist would use to diagnose the allergy. In addition, the allergist will review your history of reactions.

The skin prick test introduces a small amount of the allergy causing substance into the skin. The allergist then looks for a reaction. For the blood test the level of IgE antibodies is measured. Certain levels are generally considered normal and higher levels may indicate that a person is having an allergic reaction.

So what can be done? There is no cure for food allergies. Avoidance is what is recommended. There are many labels on foods and in restaurants that state that there are certain kinds of potential food allergens either in the food or around the food. If a person has severe reactions they may be prescribed an Epipen which administers epinephrine which can halt the allergic reaction.
About the Author
Allen Opheimer is an expert staff columist for First Stop Allergies Find more articles on Food Allergies at First Stop Allergies
Rating:
Please Rate:
(Average: Not rated)
Views: 141
Print Email Report Share
Article Categories
    • Artists
    • Gambling
    • Humanities
    • Humor
    • Movies
    • Music
    • Photography
    • Tattoos
    • Television
    • Classic Cars
    • Motorcycles
    • Recreational Vehicles
    • SUVs
    • Trucks
    • Vans
    • Branding
    • Business Opportunities
    • Careers and Jobs
    • Corporate
    • Customer Service
    • Direct Mail
    • Entrepreneurship
    • Ethics
    • Financing
    • Franchising
    • Home-Based Business
    • Human Resources
    • Import and Export
    • Leadership
    • Management
    • Market Research
    • Marketing and Advertising
    • Negotiation
    • Network Marketing
    • Networking
    • Organizational
    • Presentation
    • Project Management
    • Public Relations
    • Small Business
    • Strategic Planning
    • Team Building
    • Telemarketing
    • Training
    • Data Recovery
    • Databases
    • Games
    • Hardware
    • Networks
    • Operating Systems
    • Programming
    • Security
    • Software
    • Spyware and Viruses
    • Ask an Expert
    • College and University
    • Home Schooling
    • K-12
    • Languages
    • Online Education
    • Psychology
    • Accounting
    • Credit
    • Currency Trading
    • Debt Consolidation
    • Insurance
    • Investing
    • Leasing
    • Loans
    • Mortgage
    • Mutual Funds
    • Personal Finance
    • Stock Market
    • Structured Settlements
    • Taxes
    • Wealth Building
    • Coffee
    • Cooking
    • Gourmet
    • Recipes
    • Wine and Spirits
    • Arts and Crafts
    • Babies
    • Collecting
    • Elderly Care
    • Genealogy
    • Hobbies
    • Parenting
    • Pets
    • Pregnancy
    • Woodworking
    • Feng Shui
    • Gardening
    • Home Appliances
    • Home Security
    • Interior Design
    • Landscaping
    • Affiliate Programs
    • Article Marketing
    • Auctions
    • Audio
    • Banner Advertising
    • Blogging
    • Broadband
    • Domain Names
    • E-Books
    • E-Commerce
    • Email Marketing
    • Ezines and Newsletters
    • Forums
    • Internet Marketing
    • Link Popularity
    • Pay-Per-Click
    • Podcasting
    • RSS
    • Search Engine Marketing
    • Search Engine Optimization
    • Security
    • Social Media
    • Spam
    • Video
    • Viral Marketing
    • Web Design
    • Web Development
    • Web Hosting
    • Copyright
    • Cyber Law
    • Intellectual Property
    • National, State, Local
    • Patents
    • Regulatory Compliance
    • Trademarks
    • Buying
    • Selling
    • Baseball
    • Basketball
    • Boating
    • Cycling
    • Extreme Sports
    • Fishing
    • Football
    • Golf
    • Hockey
    • Hunting
    • Martial Arts
    • Running
    • Scuba Diving
    • Soccer
    • Swimming
    • Tennis
    • Dating
    • Divorce
    • Marriage
    • Weddings
    • Astrology
    • Buddhism
    • Christianity
    • Faith
    • Hinduism
    • Islam
    • Judaism
    • Meditation
    • Metaphysical
    • New Age
    • Cable and Satellite TV
    • Cell Phones
    • Communication
    • Gadgets and Gizmos
    • GPS
    • Satellite Radio
    • Video Conferencing
    • VoIP
    • Addictions
    • Coaching
    • Goal Setting
    • Motivational
    • Stress Management
    • Time Management
    • Clothing
    • Electronics
    • Fashion
    • Gifts
    • Jewelry
    • Causes and Organizations
    • Environment
    • History
    • Holidays
    • Men's Issues
    • Nature
    • Philosophy
    • Politics
    • Women's Issues
    • World Affairs
    • Air Travel
    • Camping
    • Cruises
    • Destinations
    • Outdoors
    • Article Writing
    • Book Reviews
    • Copywriting
    • Fiction
    • Non-Fiction
    • Poetry
    • Quotes
    • Screenplay
    • Tools and Resources