What causes Allergy?
Allergy is caused by a combination of genetic and environmental influences. In fact the genes for a lot of major allergies have already been recently isolated - thereby paving the way for gene-therapy at a later date.
Our environmental influences in this more polluted world of urbanized living have also been a major cause for the dramatic increase in the allergy problem. The number of environmental toxins such as smoke, chemicals, fumes, perfumes or even physical agents like sunlight, humidity, heat, cold and haze have all contributed to the sharp increase in allergy-related illnesses.
Food allergy is on the rise because of the increased variety of foods ingested, the increased number of food additives and preservatives being used, insecticide usage and our new friend or foe – genetically modified foods! Basically, it is even more becoming harder to know how fresh our food is and whether or not it contains genes of another food we may be allergic to.
How do Allergies Manifest themselves?
Allergic disease is usually described according to the sites where they manifest their physical effects maximally. Allergy is a multi-organ disease and this is why almost every specialilty in medicine encounters it – but we must learn to understand that it is actually the same disease throughout the body.
Here are some “target organ” examples of allergic disease.
Hay Fever and “Sinusitis” = causing itchiness, sneezing, runny nose or blocked nose.
itchiness, pain and sometimes deafness.
irritation and cough
Asthma = cough, difficulty in breathing and wheezing
Conjunctivitis = itchiness, tearing, redness and swollen eyes
Eczema, Contact Dermatitis and Urticaria = itchiness rashes and swelling
Cramps, vomiting and diarrhoea
All of the above due to exposure to chemicals and materials. Latex allergy can also fall into this category
e.g. Penicillin = anaphylaxis
SLE, Thyroiditis and many other ones being postulated.
Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) = Hyperactivity and Dsylexia in Children. Headaches (Migraine), Arthralgia and Fatigue
Allergies can present in many other unusual forms and a lot of time as a combination of signs and symptoms. It is up to your physician to be vigilant and to realise that allergic disease is a systemic disease with multi- factorial aetiology