The number of people suffering from the manifestation of allergic reactions is steadily growing every year, and it is becoming more and more difficult to stop this process against the background of the deteriorating environmental situation in the world. But we still have two main weapons in our hands - raising awareness of allergies and its competent prevention. Together with the head of the Clinic of Dermatovenereology and Allergology-Immunology of the European Medical Center, Eva Pechatnikova, they collected all the most relevant things that are important to know about this phenomenon.
Allergy - a disease or a defense reaction of the body?
First of all, it should be noted that allergy itself is not a disease. In fact, this is the strongest defense reaction of our body, sometimes even excessive and paradoxical. It is important to understand that ignoring the symptoms of allergies, which will be discussed below, can lead to the occurrence of certain diseases. For example, an allergic reaction of the nasal mucous membranes to pollen - hay fever or hay fever - can cause acute sinusitis, which may require not only decongestants and steroid nasal sprays, but also antibiotics, and in some cases, surgery.
In most cases, allergies are caused by genetic factors. So, when analyzing the results of medical studies of patients with allergies, a family factor is often traced. Such patterns can be detected by the modern procedure of genetic screening. It clearly shows that allergies can change the “target organ” of its application from generation to generation or in the process of growing up.
For example, a grandmother may have rheumatoid arthritis, her daughter may have asthma, and a baby may have atopic dermatitis. In this case, the skilled person will understand that three different diseases are caused by one immunological factor. So in the process of growing up, atopic dermatitis of a baby can easily transform into hay fever - a reaction of the mucous membranes of the respiratory system to pollen from trees and grasses.
What types of allergies are there?
Any organ of a person can respond with an allergic reaction to external or internal irritation. Therefore, the number of types of allergies is very large, especially taking into account the individual manifestations of each individual. Nevertheless, to systematize the recorded cases of manifestations of allergic reactions, experts divide them into two types: immune and the so-called simple histamine. True, here you need to keep in mind that this is a rather rough division. You don't need to treat it as absolutely accurate. With the development of genetics and immunology, scientists are finding more and more scientific data that have yet to be analyzed and turned into practical algorithms for the diagnosis and treatment of clinical symptoms.
With immune types of allergy, the human body produces antibodies in response to the antigens of the irritant. Subsequently, they lead to damage or destruction of healthy tissues, settling on the internal organs of a person. For example, in rheumatoid arthritis, joints can become the target of an autoimmune allergic reaction. And with hay fever, in response to the antigen of birch pollen, some people develop such an amount of antibodies that, in addition to a runny nose and nasal congestion, generalized reactions of the respiratory system can develop up to asthmatic attacks.
The second type of allergy can develop when eating a large number of foods that promote the release of histamine from mast cells. Such cells are ubiquitous in the human body and store in themselves the reserves of histamine - an organic compound responsible for numerous physiological processes in the body. For example, if you regularly consume a lot of strawberries or oranges, you are most likely already at risk of the second (conditionally) type of allergy. The active release of histamine can also occur in response to certain physical factors - for example, cold water or air, vibration, and even compression. These types of allergies can become serious restrictions on choosing a profession or hobby.
A large group of allergic reactions goes through a mixed mechanism: it is triggered by an antigen-antibody reaction, and ends with the release of histamine and other inflammatory mediators. Because of this, itching occurs, inflammation of the respiratory system, mucous membranes of the eyes and even the organs of the digestive tract - the stomach and intestines. This can be especially acute when eating foods that cause cross-allergies. So, if you eat a handful of peanuts during the flowering of birch or cypress trees, the risk of a severe allergic reaction increases significantly.
How do you know if you are allergic?
You need to understand that the symptomatology of any diseases or reactions of the body is a purely individual story. Therefore, if you feel unwell that prevent you from living peacefully, it is always better to consult a specialist, and not to guess on the coffee grounds or, even worse, to self-medicate. Of course, there are a number of the most common signs, thanks to which, with a high (but not one hundred percent) probability, you can identify yourself with an allergy. Let's dwell on the main features:
- You sneeze and cough, your eyes itch, there is a sore throat, but there is no rise in temperature - most likely, it was not without an allergic reaction;
- If your skin is very dry and covered with red itchy patches, it is likely that this is a manifestation of an allergic reaction;
- If you have swelling in certain parts of your body, this is also a reason to think about possible allergies.
True, it should be borne in mind that these same symptoms can be signs of other, not at all allergic reactions. So, red itchy spots appear with at least ten skin diseases, including infectious - fungal and bacterial. The same can be said about a runny nose and itching of the mucous eyes or respiratory system. So it is better not to neglect consultation with a competent doctor (read also: "Medical check up: what is it, who needs it and why").
Why does psychosomatic allergy occur?
Psychosomatic allergy is a collective term that in modern medicine replaces the outdated name of neurodermatitis. To put it carefully, this is a group of states that arise against the background of nervous tension, stressful situations or psycho-emotional experiences. Most often, this type of reaction manifests itself in the form of atopic dermatitis. However, at the moment, experts have come to the conclusion that much more serious diseases can arise on this soil, such as, for example, gastritis or cystitis.
In addition, psychosomatic allergy may appear against the background of denial of any generally accepted practices or because of the familiar "winding up" yourself. Internal rejection and rejection of the current situation can really cause an allergic reaction. People who value cleanliness and order the most in life are often extremely sensitive to the disorder and chaos around them. The resulting dust components can cause sneezing and mucous discharge in such people (see also: "How to get rid of allergens in the bedroom").
How to beat allergies?
Despite the fact that allergy is not a disease in its pure form, work on normalizing its symptoms should be under the guidance of an allergist attending physician. To do this, it is necessary to conduct a survey and find out which particular external or internal factor is an irritant. Once the trigger is found, you will be given the right treatment or preventive advice.
Do not forget that getting rid of specific reactions of the body is individual. If, after reading this article, you find you have allergy symptoms, do not run to the pharmacy for drops from nasal congestion. The most correct strategy in this case is a diagnosis by a specialist.
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