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24 May 2015

Ever wonder why you have a stuffy nose? Allergy testing may give you answers!

Warmer weather is here and brings the growth of trees, grass, blooming flowers and pollen circulating in the air. While it is nice to have a break in cold weather, it is estimated that 50 million Americans will suffer from seasonal allergies due to these exposures. Allergies in general are on the rise and it is estimated that 30% of adults and 40% of children are affected. Laboratory testing can tell you why symptoms appear and help determine the most appropriate natural treatment options.

Types of allergens

Certain exposures to allergens found in food, in our home and outside can trigger allergy symptoms. Examples of these allergens would be environmental pollens, animal dander, dust, mold, chemicals (pollutants, industrial chemicals, herbicides, pesticides, chemicals from plastic food storage, etc.), proteins in the food we eat, and infectious agents. These allergens can create a reaction on the skin, in our eyes, nose, throat, lungs, stomach, bladder, vagina, muscles, joints, brain and several other body organs and tissues. When they affect the nose, it is called allergic rhinitis. When symptoms occur with changes of the season, it is referred to as seasonal allergies. If symptoms are present all year round, it is typically from an exposure in the home or from the food we eat.

Laboratory Testing Is Available To Help You Identify Your Allergies

Since there are a variety of allergens and immune responses to them, a wide range of laboratory testing is available to help determine specific allergies and food sensitivities.

  • Environmental allergy testing. This category of testing measures the level of IgE antibodies produced to dust, mold, pollens, industrial chemicals and more.
  • Skin prick allergy testing. This is done by inserting an allergen into the skin and observing any redness or swelling around the area after 20 minutes.
  • Food sensitivity testing to measure specific antibodies. There are labs that test for:
    • Immediate type reactivity to foods, which is done by measuring IgE antibodies
    • Delayed type reactivity, which is done by measuring IgA and IgG antibodies
    • White blood cell reaction, which is done by measuring histamine and other chemicals released from white blood cells

Since we can react to so many different exposures and there are a variety of testing options, it is best to work with a naturopathic doctor, like myself, to determine the best laboratory test for you. If you are interested or have questions about these tests or your symptoms, please contact me by email or simply call 612-250-2804.

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