Food Allergy Testing and Treatment in Lower Manhattan, NY
Nearly one in three people report some kind of sensitivity to food, but it may be difficult to determine if what you're suffering from is a food intolerance or a food allergy.
Both conditions will trigger symptoms, but a food intolerance tends to come on gradually and the offending food can usually still be eaten if taken in moderate doses. One of the causes of this condition could be an enzyme deficiency. For example, in the case of lactose intolerance, those who have trouble digesting milk are lacking the enzyme which breaks down the sugars found in it.
On the other hand, the effects of a food allergy actually trigger a physical reaction in the immune system that is almost always sudden and can range from moderate to extreme, and in some cases, even fatal.
A food allergy is a severe condition and should never be self-diagnosed. Simply avoiding the food you suspect may be causing a reaction could lead to more serious issues such as malnutrition. That's why if you suspect that you may have a food allergy, the first step is to seek the advice of a qualified professional.
Food Allergy Testing
There are several key symptoms that are associated with a food allergy. It's important for you to keep a log of any of them you or your child may be experiencing, as well as the foods that were being eaten when the symptoms occurred. Here are just a few of the most common:
- Red skin
- Swollen lips or eyelids
- Tight throat
- Wheezing or trouble breathing
No single test is enough to accurately determine if you have a food allergy, so your doctor will likely use several methods before making a diagnosis:
- Family medical history analysis to see if there is a pattern of food allergies.
- Medical exam to rule out other factors that may be causing your symptoms.
- Eliminating certain foods from your diet to see if the symptoms subside.
- Skin prick test , where a small amount of the food in question is injected beneath the skin to see if there's a reaction.
- A blood test that looks for allergy-type antibodies called Immunoglobulin E.
- A "food challenge" where you'll eat a small amount of the suspected food in a location where your symptoms can be monitored.
Food Allergy Treatment
The most obvious treatment for food allergies is to avoid any food that has been proven to cause an allergic reaction. However, no matter how careful you are, accidents could occur which may require emergency medical attention.
Dealing with food allergies is an ongoing challenge for you and your doctor. It requires constant evaluation to ensure that you are supplementing the foods you avoid with the proper nutrients. It also involves keeping an eye out for conditions where you're body builds a tolerance, and the food can be eaten again.
Here is just a brief list of foods that are commonly associated with allergies in children and adults.
- Cow's milk
- Tree nuts
- Tree nuts
- Shrimp, crabs, and lobster
- Clams, oysters, and mussels
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