Living With Food Allergies

Odds are good that you know someone who suffers from food allergies – possibly a mild aversion to nuts, dairy, eggs, fish or some other food. You may even know someone who suffers from extreme allergic reactions such as anaphylaxis, and must carry an epinephrine injector with them at all times in case of such a reaction.

But if you yourself suffer from food allergies, then you know firsthand the challenges of avoiding one or many kinds of foods, particularly in a society of refined food products that may often include all of the items you are allergic to even in a case where this seems unlikely.

This difficulty is compounded by the ambiguous ingredient listings which are often included on foods, with names such as “natural and artificial flavorings”. As a way of helping consumers to deal with the sometimes unclear ingredient list on food products, Congress passed the Food Allergen Labeling and Consumer Protection Act, which went into effect on January 1 of 2006.

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This law mandates that food manufacturers declare when any one of the eight major allergens (milk, eggs, fish, tree nuts, soy, wheat, peanuts, crustaceans) are present in a food product. As such, if a product that you are examining on the shelf was packaged before January 1, it may not include the full declaration of allergenic substances.

That situation becomes increasingly unlikely as time goes on, however many products now have extremely long shelf lives – there may be product sitting on shelves for some time which was manufactured before the New Year.

When preparing foods if you or someone else in your family (or at an event) suffer from food allergies, be sure to pay close attention to the ingredients in anything that you use, as well as to use clean utensils to prevent the possibility of contamination from a previous usage.

Learn the specific scientific names for allergens, such as casein (allergen in milk)so that you know what to look for when examining labels. Living with food allergies is not easy, but with some effort you can avoid putting yourself or you allergy-suffering loved ones at risk.

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Advanced Care Centers is a state-of-the-art family medical practice with two locations for your convenience. You can visit our Louisville metropolitan location that is located in Jefferson, IN. We also have an office located in the heart of Nashville, TN.

At Advanced Care Centers we focus on many issues that can be a result of poor health choices. In particular we are hoping to help people who are suffering from hemorrhoids. If you find yourself suffering from hemorrhoids please consider our Infrared Coagulation (IRC) procedure. It is “The Gentle Solution” that can help you eliminate this common problem. Please contact us to find out more.

 

Allergies – What Causes Them?

In this blog we’re going to discuss what causes allergies and why some people are more prone to suffer from allergies than others.

The first thing we need to understand is what an allergy is. An allergy is a reaction to something outside the body that the body itself feels is a threat to it. More specifically, this is the immune system.

The truth of the matter is, everybody has allergies in as much as the body is always going to view outside agents such as pollen, grass, weeds, and even foods as invaders. The difference between someone who “suffers” from allergies and someone who doesn’t is the degree to which the body reacts or in the case of sufferers, overreacts to the allergen.

For example, let’s take hay fever season where the pollen count is especially high and have two people walk out into the street. The person who has a normal immune system and doesn’t overreact to every outside allergen will probably not even notice that the pollen count is high. There will be no itching, sneezing, watering of the eyes or any symptoms whatsoever. The person who has an overactive immune system, at least to this particular type of allergen, will begin to sneeze. Maybe the eyes will start to water. In severe cases the person may even have trouble breathing, all because their immune system is viewing the pollen as a great threat.

So the question is, why do some people have immune systems that behave normally and others have immune systems that overreact? Studies show that in most cases this is because these people are genetically disposed to reacting in such a manner. Maybe they inherited this particular predisposition from their mother or father. Maybe it even skipped a generation, but in most cases this is simply inherited.

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In other cases, allergies are not inherited. In these cases the person’s immune system does not work correctly or is weakened because of some other condition. Maybe they are a poor eater and thus aren’t getting the nutrition they need to stay healthy. This can weaken the immune system and cause it to behave erratically. In other cases the weakened immune system is caused by another underlying problem such as an inability of the body to absorb a certain protein or amino acid.

In either case, the immune system becomes what we call “hyperactive”. This results in the immune system identifying quite harmless substances as enemies and then reacts totally out of proportion to the threat itself. In some cases the reaction can be severe enough to cause some serious health problems. Yes, people can die from allergies so this is not something to be taken lightly.

Many people believe that if there is a genetic disposition to allergies then there is nothing that can do to solve the problem. This is actually not so. There are many things a person can naturally do to build up their immune system so that allergies are no longer a problem. These will be covered in future articles.