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Food Allergy and Intolerance

Food Allergy and Intolerance

Many confuse between food allergy and food intolerance as they are both triggered after eating a certain type of food and might have similar symptoms. For instance, being allergic to milk is totally different than being lactose intolerant, however, signs and symptoms might often overlap.

Food allergies trigger immediately your immune system reaction that will in turn affect many organs in your body and usually manifest with severe and life-threatening symptoms. Whereas food intolerance signs are less serious, take a little bit more to emerge, and are often limited to digestive problems.

Food allergies symptoms usually appear after eating some ingredients, even if in small quantities, and can range from mild to severe. These symptoms include the following;

  • Wheezing, cough
  • Shortness of breath or Anaphylaxis
  • Rash, hives, itchy skin and swelling
  • Hoarse throat and troubles in swallowing
  • Weak pulse, dizziness and drop in blood pressure
  • Nausea, diarrhea and vomiting

Patients with food allergy should categorically avoid eating the allergen or foods containing it; as there is no cure for such cases. If you are diagnosed with a food allergy, you should learn how to read meticulously food labels and ingredients list before consuming the food.

On the other hand, food intolerances, are more common, and could be caused by the absence of enzymes needed to digest a specific nutrient in food thus involving the digestive system. They can also be triggered by the presence of additives, preservatives or food colorant in food, or even toxic substances.

The onset of symptoms is usually slow and may persist for hours or days after eating the offending food. While some can tolerate few amounts of the intolerant substance without having complications, others can develop symptoms such as headache, eczema, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, bloating or even constipation.

The best way to treat food intolerance is to avoid foods that trigger symptoms. Some might benefit from eating the intolerant food less often and in smaller amounts over time, in order to improve the tolerance. Your doctor might also recommend you to take supplements that help in the process of digestion.