What is the difference between food intolerance versus food allergy?
Food intolerances and food allergies are often confused, but these two conditions have some key differences. Dr. Noga Askenazi, PA Meredith Cirrincione, and their team at Advanced Allergy and Asthma Associates of the Crystal Lake and Elgin, Illinois, areas provide patients with more information about the two to help adults fully understand common similarities and differences between allergies and intolerance.
What are food intolerances, and what is a food allergy?
A food intolerance is a condition in which the body has difficulty digesting a particular type of food. This can often lead to unpleasant symptoms such as nausea, bloating, gas, indigestion, or diarrhea. On the other hand, food allergies occur when the immune system mistakenly identifies a certain food as harmful and responds by releasing chemicals like histamine into the bloodstream to protect against it. This response can cause symptoms such as hives or tongue or throat swelling.
How do I know if I have either of these conditions?
No individual test can definitively diagnose whether someone has a food intolerance or allergy. Instead, doctors typically use blood and skin prick tests to help determine the cause of a patient’s symptoms. Treatment for both food intolerances and allergies typically involves avoiding the foods that trigger these reactions to reduce or eliminate symptoms. However, people with food allergies may also need to carry an epinephrine autoinjector in case of an emergency.
How do food intolerances and food allergies affect my lifestyle?
While food intolerances and allergies can be unpleasant, it is essential to remember that they are not life-threatening. It is also important to note that particular groups of people, such as those with celiac disease or lactose intolerance, will always be sensitive to specific food types due to an underlying health condition. While this means that there is no way to avoid unpleasant symptoms when eating these foods, it is necessary to seek medical attention if you experience any symptoms of either a food intolerance or allergy. Doing so can help ensure that the cause of your symptoms is correctly identified and that you receive appropriate treatment.
How do I learn more?
Our team of professionals at Advanced Allergy and Asthma is pleased to provide further information about food intolerance versus food allergy to patients in and around the communities of McHenry, Johnsburg, Huntley, Streamwood, and Schaumburg. Call (847) 888-8802 to request a consultation visit with our staff.
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