Allergy Symptoms – Beyond Itchy Eyes
When most people experience itchy, watery eyes, they associate it with the word allergy. However, what many people do not know is that they might have been suffering from allergies, without those typical symptoms. For example fatigue, which some rarely associate with an allergy. It is one of the main characteristics of an allergy. Chronic skin conditions digestive illness, and mood disorders are also manifestations of allergies.
An allergy is generally classified according to the causative substance or the resulting symptoms. The two basic types are ‘Active’ or ‘Acute’ which includes allergies, related to food, dust, chemical, mold, or chronic comprising asthma, migraines, skin conditions hay fever etc.
Functioning of the Immune System
Our immune system is an amazing mechanism designed to defend the body against infection caused by bacteria, viruses and other parasites. When our body is exposed to a foreign substance, whether it is inhaled, ingested, touched or injected, a specific protein or authority known as Immunoglobulin E (IGE) is produced. The antibody tags the protein so that it can be recognized and attacked by other immune cells. In this way, immune cells become forever on guard against particular antigens and that is why once we get chicken pox or measles, we do not get it again.
When the Immunoglobulins react with antigens, they stimulate special cells called mast cells and release histamines along with other chemicals from the cells tissue into the blood stream, in order to defend against the allergen ‘invader’. But sometimes our immune system makes a mistake and identifies harmless substances as ‘invaders’. The immune system then activates antibodies to defend against those substances. This excess production of antibodies is the cause of allergy symptoms.
What Causes Allergies
An allergy can emerge suddenly at any age without prior warning. Studies have shown that allergies could be hereditary, which means parents with allergies tend to have children with allergies. Some research also suggests that child inherits the tendency to be allergic, but not any specific allergen and specific manifestation.
But the increase in allergies can no longer be explained by genetics alone. Scientists believe that beside genetics, the two important contributing factors are environmental and lifestyle.
Research shows that if people of similar racial background live in different environments, they tend to have different allergies. For example, in Africa, metropolitan residents are move allergic than people living in the countryside. The main factor responsible for this is industrial pollution. Beside this, exposure to allergens is also an influential environmental factor where as passive smoking and pollution may act as an adjuvant (immunological agent that increases the antigenic response.
The American Heritage® Dictionary of the English Language, Third Edition copyright © 1992 by Houghton Mifflin Company. Electronic version licensed from INSO Corporation. All rights reserved.).
Besides pollution, pesticides and processed foods, researchers believe that an over-sanitized environment makes our immune systems under developed and ‘bored’
Recent researcher has identified another risk factor contributing to allergies. This factor is exposure of the body to allergens at certain times when defuses of the body are too weak such as during pregnancy or after viral infections.