How Food Allergies Can Affect Your Life

When we think of food allergies, we often think of someone sitting at a restaurant and becoming suddenly unable to breathe after accidentally eating something he/she is allergic to. What we may not realize is that food allergies can affect our bodies in many other ways. Sometimes an allergy to food can cause a wide variety of symptoms that we may not initially attribute to such. In fact, there are literally millions of people walking around with food allergies unbeknownst to them. You do not have to develop a rash or suddenly break out in huge welts to be suffering from an allergic reaction. Some of the effects will be much more subtle. Following are a few of the ways in which people are affected by food allergies without even realizing it.

Gastrointestinal Disorders

There are number of gastrointestinal disorders that are actually cause by moderate to severe food allergies. Sometimes things like dairy, wheat and a number of other foods which are commonly associated with allergies can cause gas, bloating and diarrhea. Unfortunately, many people do not even realize that a food allergy is occurring. Because of this they go through their entire lives eating the foods that are causing them these problems. Perhaps they tell themselves they must have eaten something bad or that they’re coming down with some sort of stomach flu. In reality, these people may be suffering from some sort of reaction to specific foods they have eaten without even knowing it.

Skin Problems

While it is true that people suffering from food allergies can breakout in a series of rashes or even hives as a result of eating something they are allergic to, there are also other chronic skin problems that can be associated with food allergens. People who suffer chronic acne often have underlying food allergy that is not diagnosed for some time. As a result, they may go through years of dermatology appointments, trying different products and using just about every other method under the sun to try and get rid of their acne, to no avail. Unfortunately, unless a specific food that is causing the problem is uncovered, skin problems will continue, no matter what sort of acne treatment is used.

Mood Disorders

Surprisingly, an allergy to a specific food or series of foods can actually cause people to suffer from a variety of mood disorders. Often things like depression, personality disorders, mood swings and many other undesirable mood disorders are actually cause by some sort of intolerance to a particular food or food group. This is why we often hear of pediatricians recommending dietary changes in children who suffer from ADD/ADHD. This is not only because sugar has been known to be a stimulant but also because many of these problems have been linked with food allergies. There is much more research needed to determine which foods are most apt to cause mood disorders as a result of an allergy but wheat and gluten have been associated with quite a few mood instabilities.

Respiratory Problems

A lot of people, who are suffering from food allergies, without even knowing it, seem to have chronic respiratory problems. These people may constantly feel congested; have a buildup of mucus and exhibit symptoms like that of hay fever or other seasonal allergies. These symptoms are commonly caused by foods in the dairy group but can also be associated with a number of different foods. Unfortunately, many people who have these issues are misdiagnosed and treated for different types of allergies. If someone is experiencing these sorts of symptoms, it is very important not to ignore the possibility that there could be some sort of food allergy as an underlying cause.

Discovering Food Allergies Through the Process of Elimination

One common method that is used to discover the existence of food allergies is the process of elimination. This entails slowly cutting out specific foods, for a period of time, in order to determine if there is any improvement in condition. For example, a person suffering from what looks like it may be an allergy to dairy products may choose to eliminate milk, cheese and anything else that contains dairy for a specific amount of time. If whatever symptoms the person was experiencing should subside during this period of time, there is a very good chance that this person is allergic to dairy products. This is a very common way discover the presence of food allergies. Unfortunately, because they’re such a large number of foods that could be the culprit, this method does not always work and professional help may be required.

Professional Allergy Testing

There are physicians who specialize specifically in the area of allergies and allergy testing. These physicians are typically called allergists and offer help by conducting a series of allergy tests in order to help determine which foods may be causing the problem. These tests are usually performed by a series of injections in which common allergens are introduced to the body in small amounts. These injections are usually done on the upper arm in rows of five. The way this works is that the doctor will inject the allergens into the skin and wait for specific amount of time. If any of the injection sites should show redness or swelling this is an indication that the person is allergic to whatever allergen was injected to that spot. This is the most effective way of determining what foods a person may be allergic to. In addition, this testing will also uncover extremely mild allergies, specifically borderline. This means someone may be slightly allergic to eggs and still show some sort of reaction.

They say that knowing is half the battle and when it comes to food allergies, this is certainly true. Once we are able to identify the specific foods or food groups that are causing us problems, we can make the necessary dietary changes in order to overcome whatever issues we’ve been having as a result. If you or someone you love has been suffering from anything that even remotely resembles a food allergy, you owe it to yourself or your loved one to uncover whether or not food allergies exist.

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