What is the difference between food intolerance versus food allergy?

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.


Call us at (847) 888-8802 or Schedule an Appointment today.

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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Meredith Cirrincione | Dr. Noga Askenazi

Haley Young is a board-certified physician assistant specializing in immunology and allergy with a comprehensive background in neurosurgery and dermatology. Holding a Masters of Physician Assistant Studies from Lincoln Memorial University and a Bachelor of Science in Biology from Aurora University, she brings a holistic approach to patient care. Haley Young is committed to treating the whole person—mind, body, and spirit, adeptly managing complex conditions like allergic rhinitis, food allergies, and asthma. She is a member of prestigious professional organizations and is dedicated to building trust with her patients, ensuring compassionate and comprehensive care.

Amy Schack, a distinguished board-certified Physician Associate, brings a wealth of expertise to patient care. Specializing in allergic rhinitis, sinusitis, asthma, and rashes, Amy is renowned for her commitment to excellence and compassionate approach. With a background in immediate care and orthopedics, she holds a Master's in Physician Assistant studies from Midwestern University and a Bachelor of Science from Northern Illinois University. A member of esteemed professional associations, including the American Academy of Physician Assistants and the Association of PAs in Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology, Amy Schack instills confidence, ensuring you can trust her unwavering dedication to your health and well-being.

Meredith Cirrincione is a board certified Physician Assistant and specializes in treating allergies, with a focus on asthma, rashes, environmental allergies, chemical and food allergies. She holds a Masters in Physician Assistant Studies from The Chicago Medical School - Rosalind Franklin University of Health Sciences. She is a Fellow member of the American Academy of Physician Assistants, the Illinois Academy of Physician Assistants, and the Association of PAs in Allergy, Asthma and Immunology. She likes to approach things holistically. She is a strong patient advocate and adored by her patients. She enjoys singing, reading, cooking, and the great outdoors.

Dr. Noga Askenazi is a nationally recognized asthma and allergy specialist who is board certified in pediatric and adult allergy. Her areas of special interest are innovative treatment of rashes, sinusitis, food allergies, asthma and immune disorders. She was past President of the ISAAI (Illinois Society of Allergy, Asthma, & Immunology), works on state and national committees for advancement of the allergy field and is a consultant for Advocate, Ascension Health, Northwestern amongst other health care systems. Her joy is helping patients reach their goals after together determining best treatments. Her staff and patients are a chosen family, and she invests in their happiness. She enjoys gardening, biking and cooking to good music.