Can Allergies Lead to Other Diseases?

Why is it that some people can tolerate most allergens, while others find that the slightest contact with certain foods, pollen, and insects sets a motion of serious immune system reactions?

The medical community is still trying to understand exactly what makes certain people's bodies more vulnerable to harmless triggers. A family history of allergies, as well as a variety of environmental factors, are considered to be the most common risk factors. Researchers are also exploring why allergies can put some sufferers at risk for experiencing other autoimmune diseases, since there seems to be some overlap between allergies and a variety of chronic illnesses.

Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases

Just because you have allergies doesn't mean that you're destined to become seriously ill. Just be aware that if you already have a predisposition for developing another autoimmune illness, in some cases, having allergies can increase your likelihood of it occurring, or of experiencing a progression of an autoimmune condition that already exists.

Food Allergies and Autoimmune Diseases

While there's still much to learn about allergies and autoimmune disorders, some scientists believe that the connection can be traced to certain food allergens including milk, grains, and legumes. The proteins contained in these items seem to break down the central nervous system and cause a variety of problems. For instance, it's believed that a sensitivity or allergy to certain foods may spark or worsen Multiple Sclerosis (MS) in people who are susceptible to this illness. Some people with allergies also seem to be at higher risk for another immune system disorder called Selective IgA Deficiency, which causes reoccurring infections in some sufferers. In addition, the inflammation that occurs with a food allergy reaction may be connected to the stiffness and painful joints associated with Rheumatoid Arthritis (RA), according to a study conducted by scientists from the University of Oslo in Norway.

An Unexpected Benefit

While food allergies can worsen RA, having seasonal allergies will actually make the RA symptoms less severe than they would otherwise be in someone without any allergies. Therefore, the coughing and sneezing that comes with hay fever may provide unexpected relief for your joints, so it could be a trade off, although exactly why this benefit exists still isn't clear.

How to Manage Allergies and Autoimmune Disorders

If you find yourself getting frequent infections, joint pain, stiffness, or other unexplained symptoms it's important to see your doctor. If you do get diagnosed with an autoimmune disorder, find the best strategy to manage the disease and control your allergies in the most effective way.

Allergy immunization therapy is generally not advised for anyone whose immune system is compromised by a serious illness, so you'll need to explore safer treatment options such as antihistamines, decongestants, and nasal sprays. You should also pay attention to your triggers and try to minimize contact with them as much as possible. While you may not be able to prevent certain autoimmune conditions by treating your allergies, you can at least keep your discomfort in check and can also prevent other complications, such as asthma and chronic sinus infections.




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