Do you know the difference between a true allergy and an intolerance? It’s worth learning the difference, because knowing what you’re dealing with can help you to make better decisions for your long-term health and wellbeing.
Let’s start by talking about allergies. A true allergy causes an immune system response. An allergy can be very dangerous, severe and even life threatening. The immune response caused by an allergy can will affect multiple organs and systems in the body, and you may have a progressively worse response with each exposure.
An intolerance can cause similar symptoms, which is why it can be easily confused with an allergy. But an intolerance is less likely to be life threatening. It will cause discomfort, but a person may be able to ingest smaller quantities of the food or substance without having a severe reaction. Instead, you’ll have less acute issues that might be easier to ignore, but still cause problems in the body.
What are the causes of intolerances?
- Lack of digestive enzymes needed to break down the foods. A common intolerance you might be familiar with is lactose
- Stress. Really! Your body may react poorly under emotionally difficult circumstances, leading to intolerances and symptoms that seem vague. This can include symptoms of abdominal bloating
- Celiac disease. This is not a true allergy because there isn’t a risk of anaphylactic shock, but it can cause similar, serious, multiple organ issues. Symptoms may include digestive trouble, but also headaches and joint pain
- Sensitivity to chemical food additives, such as dyes and preservatives
- Irritable bowel syndrome can mimic the symptoms of an allergy by causing severe gastrointestinal distress
In general, if you have concerns, we recommend that you get medical counseling and tested for allergies. We also have additional recommendations to help you determine the best course of action.
Don’t forget, allergies and intolerances can also apply to problems with environmental factors such as mold, dust, and other issues. You’ll want to check for each to know for sure.
Here are Proactive Wellness, our medical practitioners take a holistic, whole health approach. For that reason, we always recommend that you start with the basics. Here are some early things you can do to tell what’s going on.
- Know your body. Unexplained symptoms should never be ignored. If you are feeling unwell, it’s worth a trip to visit your trusted provider .
- Pay attention to how you feel after you eat. Keep a food diary, if you suspect that you might be having symptoms after eating certain foods.
- Try tracking other environmental factors. Be ready to consider that the issue might be caused by mold, or Lyme disease. Have you been around an unfamiliar animal recently? You may have contracted a parasite.
- Consider that your symptoms might be caused by chronic inflammation, or other stress factors.
- Finally, get tested for underlying infections. The flair-up symptoms may mimic those of an allergy or intolerance.
Finally, please don’t hesitate to reach out! At Proactive Wellness, we will provide a complete screening and counseling at each step to help you determine whether you have an allergy or an intolerance. We’ll provide counseling and support to help you make good decisions to support complete health and wellness.
If you have any questions, we will run tests and give you full screenings to rule out any issues and prevent additional risk to your long-term health.
If you have any questions about your health please don’t hesitate to give us a call! Check out our website for more information, as well. We want to partner with you to find solutions that work, and help you to live your most active, healthy life – with or without allergies and intolerances.