Testing helps Illinois specialists distinguish food intolerance from allergies
Food intolerance and food allergies are often confused with each other. You may assume the physical reaction experienced after eating certain foods is caused by a food-related allergen. After all, there are a lot of symptoms such as nausea, stomach pain, and diarrhea shared between these two conditions.
Intolerance to a food, however, isn’t an immune system reaction. Allergies are the body’s hyperactive response to a food and/or other environmental triggers. Unlike food intolerance typically limited to digestive problems, the allergic immune response can affect many different organs, so you may also suffer from itchy skin, rashes and hives, chest pain, and shortness of breath.
Plummeting blood pressure, dizziness, fainting, and flushed or pale skin are often associated with anaphylaxis. A life-threatening reaction, anaphylaxis is most commonly caused by peanuts, tree nuts such as cashews and almonds, shellfish, milk, and eggs. With so much at risk, you may need to carry relief medication or epinephrine delivery device. Other treatments to reduce or control the symptoms may also be recommended.
With food intolerance, treatment may be as simple as avoiding the suspect food. You may even be able to consume some of the food with no trouble, so portion control can do the trick. Since lactose intolerance caused by milk is so common, you can prevent disruptive and uncomfortable symptoms by taking lactase enzyme pills to aid in digestion or consuming milk that doesn’t contain lactose.
Getting to the bottom of your symptoms
One of the ways to diagnose food intolerance is also one of the ways you may find comfort and an answer to your symptoms: through an elimination diet. Any suspect foods may be removed from your diet until you are symptom-free. Foods are then reintroduced, one at a time, to pinpoint the trouble source.
The specialists at the Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates and Food Allergy Center of Illinois may suggest a food diary. You will record what you eat and when you get symptoms in an effort to connect specific foods to the symptoms.
Before you embark on any of these changes, you’ll want to do so under the guidance and at the recommendation of professionals like Drs. Noga Askenazi and Eugenia Hahn. Drs. Askenazi and Hahn can rule out any possible allergens through the likes of a skin test and, potentially, blood testing and oral ingestion challenges. To find out more about food intolerance testing and get one step closer to a symptom-free life, call Advanced Allergy & Asthma Associates and Food Allergy Center of Illinois at 847 888 8802.