Clemens von Pirquet defined allergy in 1906 as: an acquired, specific, altered capacity of the tissues of the body to react to given substances. This means that our body is over-reacting to a substance that is normally safe.
So what causes our body to over-react in this way?
In order for any allergy to develop, the body’s digestive system must be impaired with associated poor metabolismm of nutrients, have developed a sensitised immune system and been exposed to infections. So you can see, that the development of an allergy has multiple causes. Therefore, in order to treat allergies, we need to address all these processes. That is:
- improve digestion
- assist the body to metabolise and absorb nutrients
- support the body’s detoxification
- help the body overcome infections
- treat the actual allergy.
Repeated contact with an allergen triggers an immune response telling the body that a particular substance is foreign and needs to be attacked or eradicated. When a response to a given substance is immediate, identification of the offending substance becomes easier. Reactions can be delayed for anything from 12 hours to several days. These delayed responses often involve a different biochemical reaction within the body and make idetification of the offenfing substance/s more difficult.
Delayed reactions may be triggered by subsances the body is exposed to daily – basic foods, environmental toxins, amalgam fillings or occupational exposure. Repeated exposure constitutes a large strain on the body. Unlike acute reactions, repeated exposure may lead to chronic conditions.
Some common symptoms of allergies:
- Rapid or irregular heartbeat, chest pain, palpitations especially after eating, tight chest pain, oedema, vertigo, either low or elevated blood pressure;
- Ringing in the ears (tinnitus), hearing loss, recurrent middle ear infections, ear ache;
- Thyroid disturbances, hormonal imbalances, adrenal exhaustion;
- Abdominal bloating, cramps, burping, colitis, constipation, Crohn’s disease, diarrhoea, flatulence, gastric reflux, haemorrhoids, irritable bowel syndrome, variability of bowel function, candida;
- Premenstrual tension, menstrual difficulties, frequency or urgency of urination, burning urination, genital itch, frequent night time urination, urinary incontinence, bedwetting;
- Headaches, mirgraines, pressure, throbbing, stiff neck;
- Swollen painful joints; aching muscles, musclular spasm, shaking on waking, cramps, fibromyalgia, restless legs;
- Difficulty thinking clearly, memory loss, word finding difficulties, short concentration span, insomnia, headache, difficulty waking up, cranky on waking, irritability, tenseness, anxiety, panic attacks, overactivity, restlessness, rage, melancholy, depression, withdrawal, lack of confidence, confusion, seizures, persistent fatigue that is not relieved by normal amounts of rest;
- Asthma, blocked nose, bronchial and chest infections, chronic cough, hay fever, hyperventilation, nasal congestion, post nasal drip, poor respiratory function, wheezing;
- Eczema, hives, rashes, itching, dryness, blotchiness, pallor, excessive perspiration, chilblains, eruptions from direct contact with irrtiants, dry or oily hair, lifeless hair, brittle nails, blushed cheeks;
- Metallic taste, mouth ulcers, frequent sore throats, stuffiness, sinusitis, sneezing, breathing through mouth, swelling of mouth lips and eyelids, overproduction of saliva;
- Being over- or under-weight, fluctuating weight, feeling suddenly tired or chilly after eating, sudden onset of feeling unwell, bad breath.
As with any constant stressor, our body’s defences become exhausted. It is no different when it comes to allergies.
An allergy can become masked or suppressed causing reactions to alter over time. Examples are colic in an infant, bronchitis in the young child and sinus infections in the adolescent or adult. How often have you been told that a child “outgrew” its allergy? Whereas what really happens is that the target organ shifts as cummulative assaults on the body weaken different organs or systems over time.
The most common substances identified in causing allergies are:
- foods – wheat, dairy & milk substitutes (including baby formulas), gluten, sugar, genetic modification
- fungi – moulds, yeasts, candida
- chemicals – food additives (colours, flavours, preservatives), aspartame, MSG
- viruses and bacteria
- vaccinations – thimerosal, phenoxyethanol, formaldehyde, aluminium, squalene (preservatives and adjuvant substances)
- inhaled allergens – aerosols, pesticides, dust, moulds, pollens, grasses, soft toys, animal hair
As you can see from the multiplicity of allergies – causes and effects – treatment must also be multi-factoral and address all areas of the body that are affected.
As a qualified Naturopath, Dagmar is trained and experienced in treating the ‘whole’ body. So if you are not feeling 100% all of the time, give Dagmar a call on 07 5530 1863 today and arrange a thorough health assessment.