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Food Allergies – A Hidden Culprit

You may have food allergies and not even know it. That’s because the typical symptoms that people identify as related to allergies – watery, itchy eyes, or sinus congestion – are just the tip of the iceberg. Because there are many other effects from allergies that are not commonly recognized, many people do not get the help that they need.

As a Doctor of Internal Medicine, I see patients for all types of problems. When patients first come to the office, I will discuss their health history with them, and frequently establish the fact that they suffer from allergies has never been considered. One result of this misunderstanding causes people to seek the care of a variety medical specialists according to symptoms. One person may see a neurologist for headaches, and another person may see a gastroenterologist because of chronic diarrhea, all the while not knowing that the cause of these very different kinds of suffering actually result from having the same cause-food sensitivities.

A very important point to understand about food allergies is that the onset of symptoms may be delayed, making the correct assessment even more difficult for the doctor. Let’s take the case of migraine headache which can be triggered by food sensitivities. The person who suffers from them has never noticed that the headache occurs after the ingestion of any particular food item. That’s because the headache does not start immediately or even shortly after the food has been eaten. The response of the body is delayed, and the symptom may not occur for many hours or even a couple of days. Another reason that doctors may not uncover food allergy problems is that the most common test used to detect food allergies is an IgE antibody blood test. This test covers the type of allergic response that occurs causes relatively immediate symptoms, though delayed symptoms are even more commonly the underlying cause.

This test may mislead both doctor and patient to conclude that there are no significant food allergies.

Consider yet another scenario. One person feels very fatigued and is tested by their doctor for a number of ailments that commonly cause fatigue- anemia or thyroid problems for example. The doctor finds that the tests are normal and suggests that perhaps the fatigue is caused by depression and that patient is given a prescription for an antidepressant. What may nor have been considered is that general fatigue may also be do to underlying food sensitivities, and also there are emotional effects from food sensitivities as well.

This problem is being increasingly recognized. Author and physician Marshall Mandell, M.D., estimated that “over 50% of the symptoms reported in the daily practice of many doctors are the result of allergy and chemical sensitivity”. Another author Theron Randolph,MD who is considered one of the leaders in the movement called “Clinical Ecology,” recognized the effects of the environment on our health. His book, An Alternative Approach to Food Allergies, was written in 1980. In it, Dr. Randolph reviews case studies regarding headaches, fatigue, joint pain, and depression, as well as other problems, that he recognizes as allergy related. Other cases he mentions vary from patients suffering from rashes, to binge eating, to palpitations. An issue of Newsweek devoted its front cover to the subject of children’s food allergies. The article focused on the immediate and dramatic type of severe allergy reaction that is particularly frightening to parents. The more common day-to-day symptoms that can affect children, as well as adults, tends to be under recognized. To be clear, this author wants to state that he does not consider depression, for example, to be an allergic disorder. On the other hand, it is clear that people do not feel as well emotionally as well as physically when they ingest things that they are sensitive to.

Symptoms of Food Allergies

In addition to the various symptoms mentioned in this article, it has been found that anxiety, irritability, hyperactivity, post-nasal drip, recurrent ear congestion and infection, chest congestion, and asthma may also be allergy related.

I have had the distinct pleasure of seeing symptoms, which have been troublesome for years, relieved when the true underlying cause was discovered and treated.

For instance, some patients describing themselves as having a ‘sensitive stomach” suffering from diarrhea regularly, find that they are finally free of this recurring problem when the offending food has been identified and eliminated. Others who feel that they are “headache prone” and assume that stress is responsible, find similar relief when they avoid the offending foods. A simple, accurate in-office procedure can lead to making a proper diagnosis that results in welcome relief.

Stop by for a consultation with Dr. Sobo today if you want to learn more about Food Allergies and its secrets and impact on your body.

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