Staying Open-Minded About Your Healthcare

When I was first diagnosed with breast cancer, I didn't know what I was going to do. After the devastation subsided, I decided to take a very standard, western approach to my healing. Although initial efforts were successful, my cancer recurred a few months later. I endured many additional months of treatment before I started focusing on myself. I decided it was time to incorporate complimentary alternative treatments into my healing regimen, including massage therapy. I can't even begin to tell you how much it changed my life. My healing became a process, instead of something I simply had to endure. I hope that the articles on my website can inspire you to stay open-minded about your own healthcare.

3 Ways To Find Out If You Have A Food Allergy

Health & Medical Blog

Food allergies that cause severe reactions such as facial swelling make it fairly easy to identify the source: whatever food you ate right before the reaction. But milder reactions, or seeming to react to a number of foods, can make your potential food allergies a bit harder to pin down. Ultimately, you will want to make an appointment with an allergist but there's also a step you can take if you have to wait a while to see a doctor.

Elimination Diet

This is only advisable if your reactions aren't severe, you seem to be reacting to a number of different foods and an allergist can't see you for at least a month. Elimination diets involve removing all potential allergens from your diet for a whole month. What foods do you need to eliminate?

  • Dairy
  • Soy
  • Eggs
  • Corn
  • Nightshades (tomatoes, eggplants, peppers)
  • Gluten
  • Nuts

At the end of that month, you start adding back in the allergens one at a time with a pause in between for reaction time. For example, you could reintroduce dairy first by eating cheese and drinking milk on the first day. Wait two days to note any potential reactions your body is having to the dairy. If nothing happens, move on to the next allergen such as peanuts. If you do react to an allergen, remove it from your diet completely until you can see an allergist.

Skin Prick Test

A skin prick test is a quick and simple way for an allergist to test what foods are causing you problems. The doctor will place trace amounts of different food allergens on your skin, usually on the arm or back so there's plenty of room between the different allergen solutions. The doctor will then lightly scratch the skin at the point of each solution to allow the allergen to penetrate the outer layer of skin. A small raised welt will form on any solution to which you have an allergy.

This works because allergic reactions to food are really just a negative interaction between the food and a common antibody, so bringing the two together under the skin can often pinpoint your problem food. But skin tests are false positive up to 60% of the time partly due to cross-reactions, or people seeming to be allergic to two foods in the same family even though one of those foods has never actually caused any problems.

Blood Test

Blood tests can have a false positive rate similar to that of skin prick tests but the two used together can allow a skilled allergist to offer a higher degree of certainty about your allergies. The blood test looks for the antibody levels in regards to certain foods, which are introduced in the lab. Test results will show a list of foods that you might be allergic to and can indicate how likely it is that you have each allergy. The results still aren't foolproof and if the combination of scratch and blood tests don't identify your problem, the allergist might put you on a doctor-supervised elimination diet to find the culprit.

For more information about the process, speak with a professional such as Alidina Laila MD.

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12 January 2015