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Blood Testing For Food Allergies

Sep 3, 2008
A simple food allergy can change the way a person live his or her life for it basically makes this person a little altered than his or her allergy-free contemporaries. Allergies with certain types of food are caused by a specific chemical that is a common chemical ingredient in that same food. So, it is not surprising that an allergy to food may also cause a reaction to medications which subsequently leads to an alteration in medications, too.

As a result, medical professionals have been finding ways to detect food allergies as early as possible before the reactions take place. There are numerous testing processes that they utilize in finding out whether a patient is allergic to certain types of chemicals. One of these tests includes blood testing.

But before going further about blood testing, you should first understand what goes on inside the body during the allergic process.

There are two ways that the immune system reacts to an allergy. One approach is that the body, after the detection of allergens, generates immunoglobulin E or IgE which is a kind of antibody. IgE is then disseminated in the blood stream. The other approach is the occurrence of mast cells. Mast cells appear in the body tissues particularly in common allergy sites like the throat, nasal cavity, oral cavity, skin, lungs, and the organs of the gastrointestinal system.

There are cases that the capacity to produce immunoglobulin E to fight off a certain food allergen is in inherited. Individuals who are at higher risk in being afflicted with food allergies are those who have blood relations who have suffered from asthma, eczema, and hay fever.

Furthermore, an individual must initially be in contact with the potential food allergen before his or her body produces the antibody IgE. As the individual is finally exposed to the allergen the IgE is then produced and consequently fastens itself to the mast cells. This team up will eventually cause body chemical reactions the next time the allergen is eaten by the hapless individual.

Now, this immunoglobulin E is important in the detection for allergies through blood testing. The most frequently utilized blood tests are Radioallergosorbent test (RAST) and CAP-RAST (which is basically similar to RAST but more advanced).

In blood tests, the outcome is ranked from one to six, with one the least positive and six the most. Blood tests can be utilized in individuals afflicted with a severe case of eczema since this type of testing can not be influenced by antihistamines.

Following the drawing of blood samples, it is then sent away to the laboratories for further evaluation. Blood tests can be pretty much expensive and results are not immediately available for the patient to know whether they are allergic to certain food or not.

Eventually, an allergy is diagnosed when the medical professionals detected the presence of the immunoglobulin E or IgE in the patient's blood. But the results of the blood test can not identify if there is a close connection between the existence of IgE and the allergy's intensity. There are even cases wherein the results are negative although the patient manifests symptoms of food allergy.

In case, blood tests fail there are still other tests that the medical professionals may utilize to size up your allergy. These tests may include skin prick tests, elimination diets, and food challenges.

Furthermore, feel free to ask questions to the medical professionals concerning the results to better understand your condition.
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