Food allergy symptoms can vary from person to person. Allergic reactions can affect numerous systems throughout the body, including the cardiovascular system, the digestive tract, the respiratory system and the skin. Because food allergies can develop at any age, it is important to know the symptoms of food allergies as well as how food allergies are diagnosed.
The CDC estimates that more than 50 million Americans suffer with food allergies. An allergic reaction occurs when the immune system identifies a food substance as a danger and triggers a protective response to protect the body. When this reaction occurs, you can suffer with a variety of symptoms, ranging from mild to severe.
Food allergies can cause rashes, vomiting, a weak pulse and shortness of breath. A food allergy sufferer may experience some of the milder symptoms, not realizing it is a food allergy, and then the next time they consume the food substance, they may experience more severe symptoms.
Gastrointestinal Tract Symptoms- Food allergies can cause a variety of gastrointestinal tract problems. You may experience indigestion, abdominal pain/cramping, diarrhea and vomiting shortly after ingesting a food substance you are allergic to. This can result in dehydration.
Cardiovascular Symptoms- Cardiovascular symptoms may include a weak pulse, dizziness, fainting, paleness, bluing skin, shock and even circulatory collapse.
Respiratory Symptoms- Food allergies can cause a myriad of respiratory symptoms, including shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, swelling of the tongue, tightening throat and difficulty breathing.
Skin Issues- Skin irritations are common among those suffering from food allergies. You may experience a rash, itching and hives.
Anaphylaxis- Anaphylaxis is a life-threatening allergic reaction that can affect numerous systems throughout the body. Those suffering with this symptom may experience severe breathing difficulties, a drop in blood pressure, a change in heart rate, uncontrollable vomiting, severe rashes and shock. If this condition is not treated immediately, it can also result in death.
Common Food Allergens
Although you can become allergic to any food substance, ninety percent of food allergies are from one of the following eight foods.
3. Dairy Products
7. Tree nuts
Diagnosing and Testing for Food Allergies
Many people experience the symptoms of food allergies several times before realizing they may have a food allergy, as the symptoms can vary. For example, if you eat something you are allergic to, you may experience an upset stomach and a mild rash and think you have eaten something that has given you a mild case of food poisoning or contracted a stomach virus. The next time when you eat the same food, the symptoms can be very different.
As severe reactions can occur, it is important to be aware of the symptoms of food allergies and contact your physician if you experience any symptoms. Write down what you ate and how much you ate, along with any symptoms you experienced, how long the symptoms lasted and how long it took the symptoms to develop.
Food allergies can be dangerous. Although many people try to diagnose food allergies via elimination diets, it is best to be tested immediately. The best choice for diagnosing food allergies is live blood cell tests such as those offered by ALCAT . These tests require a simple blood draw and give you extremely accurate results.