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Food Allergy

The allergic food reaction is a rapid and exaggerated pathology of the immune system against a food ingested. It is often mistakenly confused with the ' food intolerance (hypersensitivity or food). Schematically, the main differences are:

Pathology                              Causes (examples)
Food Allergy                           immune-mediated reaction to food proteins
Reaction: drugs / chemicals    caffeine , cheese / wine : tyramine , mackerel : histamine , food additives :
                                             preservatives , dyes , etc..     
Food-borne                             toxins bacterial stafilotossina
Food intolerance                     intolerance to lactose (deficiency of lactase ),
                                             intolerance to gluten : Celiac Disease

topics food allergy initiative clinical

Manifestations of food allergy are observed in approximately 6% of children and 1-2% of adults, according to other authors, in Western populations, it is up to 8% in children and 2 - 3 , 7% Recent data from the U.S. CDC / National Center for Health Statistics show a dramatic increase of this disease. This disease, though rare, can manifest with clinical features such as life-threatening anaphylactic shock . Food allergies cause anaphylaxis potentially fatal, are due for 80% of cases to peanuts and nuts . The allergic reaction is determined by the food due to diverse symptoms that can occur in various organs and systems such as the skin , the ' gastrointestinal tract , the ' respiratory system . Allergic reactions involving the involvement of immune mechanisms, IgE- mediated and cell-mediated, in pathophysiological terms are part of the immediate type I hypersensitivity .

It is widely accepted that this disease is due to a suppression of the normal mechanisms of immunological tolerance to protein ingested with food. Among the foods most involved in food allergies, there are the milk , the eggs , the soybean , the peanuts , the nuts , the fish , the crustaceans and many other foods capable to degranulate the ' histamine contained in mast cells . For the diagnosis requires careful medical history , followed by laboratory investigations, and even if necessary to test triggering.

Usually the disease management is educating the patient to avoid the strict ' allergen responsible for allergic reactions and simultaneously, in case of unintentional ingestion of the same, start anti-allergic therapy. Sometimes it is also possible preventive drug.

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