Intolerance Vs Allergy

Allergy
Food Allergy Uk states that a food allergy is an abnormal immune system response where the body produces antibodies (when a certain food is eaten) and these antibodies ‘fight off’ the food like it would an illness/ bug, resulting in the person suffering symptoms such as swelling, difficulty breathing and rashes. With an allergy in most cases a patient wont be able to tolerate any quantity of the offending food, with just a tiny amount capable of triggering a response. Because of this, the offending food can be easily detected.

Intolerance
The cause of an intolerance can be a lot more complicated than an allergy as it can be a number of different reasons, from Enzyme defects to additives in foods. Food intolerances are much more common, however the onset of symptoms are much slower and can last for days/ weeks. Because of this, it’s much more difficult to detect. For example, if a food is eaten regularly, the body will react and produces symptoms, then when the food is eaten again, the current symptoms will run into the next reaction producing more symptoms. This makes offending foods much harder to detect. However once offending foods are detected, it’s possible for the patient to consume small doses of the food without suffering any symptoms. Common symptoms for intolerances are listed below, you may find that you suffer from just one of them, or you may suffer from several/ all of them!

Symptoms Can Include:-

  • Fatigue
  • Joint pain
  • Dark circles under the eyes
  • Vomiting
  • Gastrointestinal problems such as bloating, diarrhoea and IBS
  • Chronic rhinitis
  • Skin inflammations
  • Reoccurring tonsillitis

Lactose and Coeliac are the only intolerances that can be tested for, other intolerances are diagnosed through an exclusion diet (called a diagnostic diet) where foods are withdrawn from the diet for a period of time.

To find out more about allergy and intolerants, go to the Allergy UK, they have a downloadable fact sheet that is useful for printing off, it can come in handy if you have just been diagnosed with an allergy or an intolerance. I would recommend printing a copy off to give out to friends and family who you may regularly see for their reference when cooking for you and handling foods when you are around.

Are You Intolerant?
Are you intolerant to certain foods, or do you know someone who is? Do you have any tips or useful advice for those who do? Any suggestions that you can give would be a great help. I have recently been told I have intolerances (yes, more than one!), so I know how daunting it is! Any help you can give would be very much appreciated.

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