Anaphylaxis is triggered by even tiny amounts of an allergen in some people who are suseptable to it.
Anaphylaxis involved multiple systems in the body, including respiratory (upper and lower), gastro-intestinal, skin and cardiovascular.
Anaphylaxis is usually diagnosed in childhood. It can also begin later in life for some people.
Anaphylaxis is most commonly caused by food, but can also be triggered by medication, insect stings, as well as other substances such as latex.
The most common foods to trigger anaphylaxis are:
Sympoms range from mild to severe. In thier worst case, they are life-threatening (when symptoms are so bad that they casue anaphylactic shock).
Symptoms can be delayed or start off as slight, but rapidly develop in to anaphylactic shock.
Anaphylaxis can result in some, many or all of the following symptoms:
- Abdominal pain
- Angioedema (swelling of the lips, face, neck and throat)
- Bronchospasm (constriction of the airways)
- Encephalitis (acute inflammation of the brain)
- Flushed appearance
- Hypotension (low blood pressure)
- Polyuria (passage of large volumes of urine)
- Rapid heartbeat
- Respiratory distress
- Tears (due to angioedema and stress)
- Throbbing ears
- Urticaria (hives)
- Vasodilation of arterioles (small diameter blood vessels dialate, causing a rapid drop in blood pressure)