Food: Allergies and Intolerance

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It is important to understand the difference between allergies and intolerances and how to treat them. Although both are related to adverse symptoms after eating certain foods, the issues can be very different. Many people discover allergies or intolerances in childhood, and it is possible to outgrow them, but it is also common to develop or discover them in adulthood. Intolerances usually cause symptoms like bloating, stomach problems, or headaches and lethargy. These can be delayed, appearing many hours or even days after you eat the suspect food, or build up the more you eat it. You may have been feeling unwell but been unable to pinpoint the cause, especially if more than one food is affecting you. A related condition is celiac disease, which is triggered by gluten. This has similar symptoms to an intolerance but is actually an autoimmune disease that can cause long term damage to the body. Allergies usually have an immediate reaction (generally within two hours of eating the food) which can affect the skin, stomach, and in serious cases, breathing and circulation. While intolerances can be unpleasant and severely affect your wellbeing, allergies can be life threatening and need to be treated quickly. In this quiz you will learn which systems in the body allergies, intolerances, and celiac disease affect and some of the common symptoms to look for. You will also learn the essential medication used to treat a life threatening allergic reaction, one that you must carry at all times if you have those conditions. If you suspect you have an intolerance, allergy, or celiac disease, it is important to consult your doctor. Depending on your symptoms, they may suggest you keep a food diary, eliminate certain foods from your diet, or they may send you for allergy tests. Cutting foods from your diet affects your nutritional intake so it is important to consult a dietician when you are making any changes.

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