Allergies and asthma

By Dr. Katie Takacs D.C.

The Surveyor

We’re fully into the summer season and it is the time of year we start to see increased sinus infections and worsening of allergies-like asthma. Some people may get a little congested, have a cough, or some may have to carry an inhaler. It is estimated that 8.4 percent of children in the U.S. and 7.6 percent of adults suffer from asthma – this accounts for around 25 million Americans (one in 12 people). There was an increase of 4.3 million people affected from 2001-2009. Asthma is the most common chronic disease among children.

An asthma attack occurs when muscles around the airway begin to tighten (bronchospasm), the airways become swollen and inflamed, and more mucus is produced. This makes it more difficult to breathe, can cause an elevated heart rate, panic/anxiety, and the feeling of being suffocated.

Traditional medicine will test for allergies, or an IgE reaction, when making a diagnosis of asthma, but will not typically test for sensitivities – an IgG or IgA reaction. The difference between an allergy and a sensitivity is an allergic response happens immediately, whereas a sensitivity may not appear for (24-48 hours). This makes it very challenging for people to determine the cause of their symptoms. To better understand what is happening during a response, let’s take a look at the culprits.

  • Immunoglobulin E (IgE) is a type of antibody released in the body to fight allergic reactions and parasites. An example of an IgE response would be a child allergic to peanuts – they eat peanuts and their throat begins to shut, their lips and face swell, and they require immediate usage of an epi-pen.
  • The main purpose of IgG is to fight infection of body tissues. An example of an IgG response would be a person sensitive to eggs – they consume eggs and break out in a rash, acne worsens, increased brain fog/headaches, their asthma worsens, joint pain, fatigue, etc.
  • IgA is secreted to control immune function of mucous membranes and fight off infection. An example of an IgA response would be someone who is sensitive to dairy – they drink a glass of milk and notice more mucus in their throat, a runny/stuffy nose, digestive issues, or worsening of asthma (from the increased mucous).

Although it is necessary our bodies produce these antibodies, certain foods can present to the body as “foreign” or unrecognizable and can trigger an immune response, or an increase in immunoglobulins (Ig). The five most common food sensitivities are: gluten, dairy, eggs, peanuts, and soy. You can see why it is crucial to check for not only allergies, but also sensitivities.

Research indicates the removal of certain foods may lessen the severity, quantity, or even completely eliminate asthma attacks as well as other symptoms mentioned above. Asthma and food allergies are two of the most common complaints I see in practice. Testing for food sensitivities is simple and can be done via a blood draw. I also see a lot of pediatric patients in practice and utilize a test that uses a finger prick to check for food sensitivities – this is much easier to perform when working with children.

There are also many natural treatments that can help you or your child. This may include nebulizer treatments, increased vitamin and mineral intake, and/or supplementation of anti-inflammatories like EFAs. Interested in learning more? Check out our website to learn more about how I can help you or your child.


Tags: , ,