Food Allergies

Posted at: 09/24/2013 5:56 PM
Updated at: 09/24/2013 8:41 PM
By: Benita Zahn

In this land of plenty it can often be difficult to find the right food to eat if you're among the 6 to 8 percent of children under age 5 or 3-4 percent of adults diagnosed with a food allergy. Food allergies involve your immune system - your body thinks the substance is harmful and attacks.

" What we mean is that we can identify a marker and typically it's an IGE or allergic antibody that we can measure either in skin prick test or in blood work" explains Dr. Kirsi Jarvinen - Seppo.

And if it's a food allergy the most common symptoms usually hit within minutes and can hit hard.

"And you might develop hives, you might have shortness of breath, lip swelling, eye lid swelling, things of that nature."

Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting, dizziness, lightheadedness or fainting can also occur anywhere from a few minutes to a two hours after eating the offending food for the first time.

In severe cases food allergies can be life threatening so people who know they're allergic should carry an epi pen to lessen the reaction.

Food intolerances can cause stomach distress but won't be life threatening.

And what about celiac disease? Dr. Jarvinen-Seppo explains " Celiac disease can present multiple, different symptoms that's why the diagnosis or actually the suspicion is difficult."

Blood test, endoscopy and biopsy are needed to make that diagnosis- different than with gluten intolerance.

" Bloating, not feeling well, get better when they take gluten off their diet. But clearly these 2 phenomenon are not a defined syndrome."