Other Treatments - Allergy Testing

Allergy

Why Allergy Test?

The body may react to food in many different ways, and this has been the cause of much controversy about what does and does not constitute food allergy. Food allergy is probably best defined as an abnormal immunological reaction to food. With statistics showing that 1 in 3 primary care patients suffers from allergies or allergic symptoms, testing is vital for both ruling out and diagnosing allergies to ensure a quick and accurate diagnosis.

The prevalence of allergic disease and allergic symptoms is increasing throughout the world, particularly among young children. While patient history and general physical assessment are essential for establishing appropriate treatment strategies, laboratories also play an important diagnostic role through in-vitro testing, which provides valuable clinical information.

Allergy

There is frequently a lot of confusion in what an allergy is; and with the classification of different levels of reaction within the category of allergy, the level of confusion is understandable. The terms Food Intolerance, Food Sensitivity and Allergy are often used interchangeably, but understanding the differences between them can help with patient diagnosis.

Food Intolerance

The term intolerance generally applies to non-immune reactions to foods and other substances. Examples include lactose intolerance, pharmacological responses to alkaloids in foods, salicylate sensitivities and lectin reactions, in which dairy lectin interacts with surface antigens on cells, causing them to agglutinate. Food intolerance reactions may induce a histamine reaction but this will not be immune mediated. Due to the conspicuous relationship between food consumption and the onset of symptoms, allergy diagnosis is often mistakenly given.

Food Sensitivity

Food sensitivity arises when the immune system is stimulated to produce complexes composed of antigen and antibodies. These activate complement and cytokines in the body, resulting in an inflammatory response. These reactions form the basis of delayed-onset food sensitivity reactions. Symptoms are delayed because of the time taken to form the complexes.

Common Symptoms Include

  • Emotional disturbances
  • RA
  • Vasculitis
  • Fatigue
  • Skin Irritations
  • Hypertension
  • Malnutrition
  • Headaches
  • Recurrent Infection
  • GI Problems