Monthly Archives: February 2011

Concerned about Symptoms?

Sometimes understanding the symptoms you or your loved-one are dealing with is difficult & confusing. I used to wonder, “What is it that my body is trying to tell me – I just don’t understand!?” With the exception of an anaphylactic shock , the reaction to an allergen may be delayed from the initial contact or ingestion or not a “typical” symptom, making it frustrating to determine the cause of the symptom. Because of this, people do not even correlating the symptom they’re having to an allergy.

Most people are familiar with “hay fever” symptoms of itchy eyes, a runny nose, & sneezing. However, that is just a start to the many different ways that allergens can affect us. Allergens can cause reactions is many different aspects of our body.

Are you or a loved one symptomatic with any of these?

Head – Headache, Dizziness, Insomnia

Eyes – Itchy/watery eyes, Puffy/swollen eyelids, Dry eyes, Dark circles or bags under eyes, Blurred vision

Ear, Nose & Throat – Earache or infections, ringing/popping or itching in ears, Stuffy nose, Sneezing, Coughing, Wheezing, Gagging, Excessive mucus, Itchy throat, Sore throat

Skin & Mouth – Itchy skin, Swollen or discolored lips & tongue, Sensitive gums, Canker sores, Acne, Hives, Rashes, Dry skin, Hair loss, Hot flashes, Flushed skin, Excessive sweating

Heart, Chest & Lungs – Chest pain, Irregular heartbeat, Congestion, Asthma, Bronchitis, Breathing difficulties

Gastrointestinal (GI) tract – Nausea, Vomiting, Diarrhea, Constipation, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Leaky Gut Syndrome, Ulcers, Bloating, Flatulence, Heartburn, Intestinal Spasm, Stomach ache

Joints & Muscles – Arthritis, Muscle pain, Joint pain, Stiffness, Muscle weakness

Genitals & Bladder – Infertility, Unusual genital discharge or itch, Frequent or urgent urination, Bladder pain

Weight & Energy – Excessive cravings for particular foods, Weight gain, Weight loss, Water retention

Mind & Spirit – Fatigue/sluggishness, Hyperactivity/restlessness, Poor concentration/distractibility, Difficulty following instruction/confusion, Poor physical coordination, Slurred speech, Learning disabilities, Poor memory

Emotions – Mood swings, Irritability, Anxiety, Aggressiveness, Depression, Compulsive behavior

Of course, this is not an all-inclusive list of allergy symptoms. The symptom that you or your loved one is suffering through could be something else entirely. Or, you could have a symptom listed here that isn’t actually caused by an allergy, rather caused by another medical condition that needs addressed by a healthcare provider. The most important thing about symptoms is really to listen to your body. These and other symptoms are very impactful to one’s quality of life. If something doesn’t feel right, don’t ignore it! The best way to determine if it is an allergy is to get tested. Stop suffering & start living.

For additional resources, check out the following site:

http://www.womentowomen.com/inflammation/allergysymptoms.aspx

What are allergies? Do you have allergies? How do you know?

Allergy symptoms range widely in their effects for an individual from simply irritating or bothersome to seriously debilitating or even life threatening. Some people get stuffy noses, watery eyes, sneeze attacks, etc. Others break out in hives, rashes or have gastrointestinal problems. The most dangerous symptom is when someone has an anaphylaxis response or a severe, whole-body allergic reaction. So, what are allergies?

The Mayo Clinic has a simple definition and explanation of what allergies are:

Allergies occur when your immune system reacts to a foreign substance such as pollen, bee venom or pet dander.

The immune system produces proteins known as IgE antibodies. These antibodies protect you from unwanted invaders that could make you sick or cause an infection. When you have allergies, your immune system makes antibodies that identify your particular allergen as something harmful, even though it isn’t. This triggers the release of histamines and other substances that cause allergy symptoms.”

Essentially, an allergy is your body being hypersensitive to something it thinks is harmful, even though it really isn’t. When your body is exposed to an allergen it is hypersensitive to, the allergic reaction occurs and the symptoms begin.

One of the confusing things about allergies is that many of the symptoms from allergies are similar to other illnesses or diseases. For example, if I wake up one morning with a stuffy nose & watery eyes, do I have a cold or could it be allergies? Or, if I have gas & bloating, did I eat something bad or could it be allergies? Severe anaphylaxis responses are easier to determine the cause since they are very rapid in onset. Although being exposed to an allergen that could cause an anaphylaxis response & waiting to see what happens is probably not the best way to see if you’re going to have a severe reaction. Other allergy symptoms are not nearly as easy to figure out. Sometimes it is really hard to determine, especially with food allergies, what exactly is the cause of your symptoms. This is where testing comes in.

Testing for allergies is so important and an essential first step in managing & living with allergies. Knowing if you have allergies and what you are allergic to allows for proper treatment & management of the allergy. Testing for allergies can be done by either a skin test or a blood test. Skin prick tests are done in a doctor’s office where the doctor pricks your skin with a bit of the allergen and watches to see if you develop a reaction or raised red bump where you were pricked with the allergen. Most blood tests are done at a laboratory where you go get your blood drawn and then it is processed. Another way to get a blood allergy test is with a home blood test kit. A home test kit provides a convenient way to go about getting a blood test done without having to visit a lab or your doctor’s office. ImmuneTech offers a home blood test kit for ten of the most common allergens. Their test is available without a doctor’s prescription and it is FDA cleared for over the counter use. For additional information on a home test kit or to order, visit Immunetech.com.

Regardless how you get tested for allergies, the key step is to get tested. From there, you can begin to manage & “live” with allergies rather than simply suffering through symptoms.