July 18, 2024

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Food allergy: Symptoms, Causes and diagnosis

3 min read
Food allergy: Symptoms, Causes and diagnosis

Milk, eggs, fish, peanuts, tree nuts, shellfish, wheat and soy generally cause food allergies. Read more to find out the causes, symptoms and diagnosis.

Food allergy is the reaction of your immune system to certain types of foods. Most people are allergic to peanuts, milk and eggs. The best treatment for food allergy is to avoid the trigger foods. Sometimes food allergies can be deadly, seek medical help if you have severe allergic symptoms.    

What is food allergy? 

Food allergies occur when your immune system overreacts to certain types of proteins in the food. These reactions of the immune system are called food allergy. Although allergies generally develop during childhood, a person may also develop an allergy in adulthood which is very rare.      

What causes food allergy? 

Food allergy happens when your immune system considers a definite protein as a harmful substance. In response to attack the protein, your immune system produces IgE antibodies. 

Therefore, when a person eats the same food once again, the immune system takes action immediately by releasing histamine and other substances into the bloodstream. These substances in the bloodstream cause the allergic reaction. 

Histamine makes the blood vessels to enlarge and skin to swell. As it also affects the nervous system which causes itching of the skin.    

The exact cause why some people experience food allergy is still unsure. However, researchers believe family history of allergy, gut bacteria, asthma, and certain seasonal allergies may contribute to developing food allergy.      

What are the symptoms of food allergy? 

The symptoms of food allergy can be mild or very severe. Also, everyone will not experience the symptoms, they may slightly vary from person to person. The common symptoms may include: 

  • Tingling sensation in the mouth
  • Burning sensation in the mouth and lips
  • Swelling of the face
  • Hives ( a type of skin rash)
  • Wheezing
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Runny nose
  • Diarrhea

Anaphylaxis is a deadly condition which may occur due to acute hypersensitivity reaction. This multi-system allergic reaction takes place soon after consuming the specific allergen. Without an immediate treatment, anaphylaxis can be fatal because of its rapid expansion to respiratory collapse. 

Although the signs of anaphylaxis occur right after the ingestion of that specific protein, in some cases it can also take a few hours to occur. The symptoms are:

  • Rapid swelling of the lip, mouth, throat and face
  • Itchy throat
  • Seezing
  • Steamy nose and eyes
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Hives
  • Rapid blood pressure falls
  • Fast heart rate
  • Wheezing
  • Shortness of breath
  • Loss od consciousness

What are the common food allergies? 

There are eight common allergens that most people are allergic to. The foods are: 

  • Milk
  • Eggs
  • Fish
  • Peanuts or groundnuts
  • Tree nuts (Hazelnuts, Walnuts, Pistachios, and Cashews) 
  • Soybean
  • Wheat
  • Shellfish (Lobster, Crabs, and Shrimps)

According to some recent studies, children mostly develop an allergy to milk, eggs, and peanuts. 

How are food allergies diagnosed? 

To diagnose a food allergy condition, your healthcare provider might ask you several questions regarding your allergic reaction. They will ask you: 

  • What symptoms do you have? 
  • What food did you eat? 
  • Whether food is cooked or not
  • How long does it take for the reactions to occur?    

The doctor may ask you whether you have asthma or any seasonal allergies. They might also want to know if you have any family history of allergies. After that, they will suggest certain diagnostic tests to find out the cause of the allergic reaction.Your doctor will prescribe you a blood test along with a vitamin profile test to rule out the cause of the reaction. The food allergy test price is reasonable. You can book the food allergy test online, search for Thyrocare Bangalore to book one. The best treatment for food allergy is to avoid those foods which trigger the symptoms.

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