Men And Food Allergies What's Healthy and What's Not Part1

May 9 09:58 2005 Robert Walker Print This Article

The Basics of Food Allergies In Men

Allergies affect the lives of millions of people around the world. Fresh flowers, a friend’s cat or dog, even dust can make people itch, sneeze and scratch almost uncontrollably. But what about that seemingly innocent peanut butter sandwich, glass of milk or fish fillet? Learn more about food allergies and steps you can take to reduce your risk of exposure to potentially dangerous food allergens.

The Basics Common Symptoms of Food Allergies

Most Common Food Allergens
Diagnosing Food Allergy
Treatment for Food Allergies
Other Resources
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The Basics
Each year more than 50 million Americans suffer from a variety of allergic diseases such as; atopic dermatitis and other eczemas,Guest Posting hives, allergies to venom of stinging insects (honeybees, wasps, and fire ants), allergic drug reactions and food allergies. According to the National

Institutes of Health, approximately 5 million Americans, (5 to 8% of children and 1 to 2% of adults) have a true food allergy.

Food Allergy vs. Food Intolerance

Food allergy, also called food hypersensitivity,is a reaction of the body’s immune system to something in a food or an ingredient in a food usually a protein. Food allergens are not broken down by cooking or the digestive process. As a result, they enter the bloodstream and cause allergic reactions throughout the body. Food allergies can cause life-threatening reactions.

Other reactions to foods are called food intolerances or food idiosyncrasies. Food intolerance is an adverse reaction to a food substance or additive that does not involve the immune system.

These reactions are generally localized, temporary, and rarely life threatening. Lactose intolerance is an example of food intolerance.

Note: It is very important for individuals who have true food allergies to identify them and prevent allergic reactions to food because these reactions can cause serious illness and, in some cases, be fatal.

Common Symptoms of Food Allergies

Symptoms of food allergy differ greatly among individuals. They can also differ in the same person during different exposures. Allergic reactions to food can vary in severity, time of onset, and may be affected by when the food was eaten.

Common symptoms may include: skin irritations such as rashes, hives and eczema, and gastrointestinal symptoms such as nausea, diarrhea and vomiting.
Sneezing, runny nose and shortness of breath can also result from food allergy.
Some individuals may experience a more severe reaction called anaphylaxis – a rare but potentially fatal condition which may include swelling of the throat, difficulty breathing, lowered blood pressure and unconsciousness.

Symptoms usually appear rapidly, sometimes within minutes of exposure to the allergen. Seek immediate medical attention – standard emergency treatment often includes an injection of epinephrine (adrenaline) to open up the airway and blood vessels.

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Most Common Food Allergens
The eight most common food allergens include:

Milk (including yogurt and ice cream, and anything that is made with milk)
eggs
peanuts
tree nuts (such as walnuts and almonds)
soy
wheat
fish
shellfish (such as shrimp, crayfish, lobster, and crab)

Note: These food allergens cause more than 90% of all food allergic reactions. However, many other foods have been identified as allergens for some people.

Diagnosing Food Allergy
If you suspect you have a food allergy, get a medical evaluation. Treatment is basically avoiding the food(s) after the specific food allergy is identified. You should see a board-certified allergist to get a diagnosis, and a dietician to plan the proper diet.

Making a diagnosis may include a thorough medical history, analysis of a food diary, and several tests including skin-prick tests, RAST tests (a blood test) and food challenges. Once a diagnosis is complete, an allergist will help set up a response plan that may include taking medication by injection to control allergic reactions.

Treatment for Food Allergies
Currently, there are no medications that cure food allergies. Strict avoidance is the only way to prevent a reaction. Once the specific food has been identified, it must be removed from your diet. It is important to read lengthy, detailed ingredient lists on each food you are considering eating. The Food and Drug Administration requires ingredients in a food to appear on its label.

You can avoid most food allergens if you read food labels carefully, and avoid

restaurant-prepared food that might have ingredients to which you are allergic. Don’t be shy about asking for more information if the menu isn’t clear.

Unfortunately, you can’t take a medication in advance to reliably prevent an allergic reaction to a specific food. However, there are several medications that will relieve food allergy symptoms that are not part of an anaphylactic reaction. These include antihistamines to relieve gastrointestinal symptoms, hives, or sneezing and a runny nose, and bronchodilators to relieve asthma symptoms. These medications are taken after you have inadvertently ingested a food to which you are allergic, but are not effective in preventing an allergic reaction when taken prior to eating the food.

Note: Randomly taking different food groups out of your diet can cause other health problems.

Seek the help of a doctor before making significant changes in your diet.


Other Resources
This is just a brief overview. For more information, check out these resources:


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Food Allergies:
Websites*:

American Academy of Allergy Asthma & Immunology
Asthma & Allergy Foundation
Food Allergy & Anaphylaxis Network
Food and Drug Administration
International Food Information Council
USDA Food and Nutrition Information Center

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Consumer Focus: The Basics of Food Allergies

Tips for Avoiding Food Allergies
Eight percent of children in the U.S. are estimated to be affected by food allergies, along with up to 2% of adults. The eight most common food allergens – milk, eggs, peanuts, tree nuts, soy, wheat, fish and shellfish – cause more than 90 percent of all food allergic reactions. However, many other foods have been identified as allergens for some people.

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About Article Author

Robert Walker
Robert Walker

Robert Walker is a health information marketer and writer that writes for
The Men's Health Advantage Report at http://todays-man-health-advocate.com.

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