Can Food Cause Breathing Problems?
Respiratory allergies and food intake can be related. Actually, any food can cause a food allergy in any given individual. However, there are only a few foods that account for 90% of allergic reactions to food. Those foods include, milk, eggs, peanuts, nuts from trees, fish, shellfish, soya and wheat. Food alergies are far more serious than the seasonal allergies that afflict so many of us. Knowing what a food allergy are and how to treat the symptoms of an attack is essential for anyone who care for children.
Testing for Food Related Breathing Difficulties
Food allergies occur when the immune system produces antibodies to a food allergen because the body thinks the substance is dangerous and unsafe. Histamine is then released in the person's system and the following respiratory symptoms can occur: tightness in the throat, hoarse voice, coughing, and wheezing. The most serious reaction is called anaphylaxis. This sudden response to a food allergen includes several respiratory reactions occurring at once. Breathing tubes can narrow and the tongue can swell making breathing very difficult. If one suspects a food allergy, the only way to know for sure is to have allergy tests performed by an allergy doctor.
A diagnosis of food allergies begins with an examination by a doctor. The doctor will inquire if food allergies run in the family, as many studies show that food allergies may be hereditary. The doctor may also require the patient to keep a detailed log of all foods eaten and the reactions to those foods.
From there, the doctor may try an elimination diet. This diet lasts for 10 to 14 days. Foods that are suspect for allergies are eliminated from the diet. If symptoms disappear, then there is a good chance that there is an allergy to that food. If the symptoms reappear after the food is reintroduced then the results are even more definitive.
The Oral Food Allergy Challenge is another test that looks for correlations between respiratory allergies and food intake. This test requires the patient to eat increasing amounts of a suspect food and a non-suspect food. If there are reactions to only the suspect foods, then the doctor will usually diagnose a food allergy.
Many, however, choose allergy testing. This test requires a number of allergens to be introduced to the body by pricking the skin with a push pin type instrument with the allergen on the tip. If the skin reacts with a raised and itchy spot, then the patient is allergic to that allergen. This test is generally safe, but severe and dangerous reactions can occur if the patient is extremely allergic to the allergen. This test can also produce false positives.
A blood test can also be done to determine whether or not a person is allergic to some foods. The ELISA, or enzyme linked immunosorbent assay test, determines if immunoglobulin E antibodies are being produced to particular allergens. The blood is collected and then sent to a lab and tested to see how it reacts to certain food. If immunoglobulin E, is high, then the test is positive for that particular food. The ELISA test is considered to be the most accurate of all tests.
Food allergies can be uncomfortable and sometimes life threatening. Testing for food allergies can give a patient the knowledge he or she needs to determine a course of treatment.