Adult Onset Allergies More Common Than Previously Thought
Adult Onset Allergies More Common Than Previously Thought
Think You Have One Of These Super Common Food Allergies? Think Again
06 January, 2019, 22:11
A new survey study from a team of investigators at Northwestern University Feinberg School of Medicine in Chicago reported that at least 26 million (10.8%) United States adults have a convincing food allergy, while almost double that (19%) believe they have one. These results suggest that 26 million USA adults have a convincing foodallergy but nearly 50 million think they do. The study surveyed 40,000 adults and was conducted by Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, from Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago and professor of Pediatrics at Northwestern University. "It is really important to get a proper diagnosis so that they can really know is this something treatable like lactose intolerance, or is this a life-threatening food allergy that they need to be very careful with", said Gupta.
About how many people do you know who claim to have food allergies? All told, 40,433 USA adults completed the food allergy survey, for which they received US$5 each. Every single person with a food allergy should be carrying epinephrine auto-injector, as the severity of allergic reactions to food are unpredictable, and the next reaction could be severe.
The researchers believe there are an estimated 13 million USA adults who have suffered at least one severe allergic reaction to eating something and at least 10 million adults who had to be treated in an emergency department for a food allergy. The most prevalent specific convincing food allergies were shellfish (2.9%; 95% CI: 2.7-3.1), shrimp (1.9%; 95% CI: 1.8-2.1), and milk (1.9%; 95% CI: 1.8-2.1).
Of those with a "convincing" allergy, nearly half said they had developed at least one of their food allergies as an adult, while about 38% said they had undertaken an emergency hospital visit as a result of a food allergy. "That's a big number".
One in 10 adults in the US have a food allergy, scientists believe. "There was definitely a need for a study like this". As Gupta explained, most patients would just be prescribed an epinephrine injection therapy and advised to avoid the food. "This is double that".
When it comes to food allergies, Americans are more anxious than they need to be, a new study says.
People who suspect that they have an allergy should seek medical care, Nadeau said.
In recent years, the number of children with food allergies and intolerances has shot up, raising concerns that we raise kids in overly-sterile environments.
The fact that fewer than a quarter of those with food allergies had a prescription for an EpiPen to deal with life-threatening reactions is concerning, Reisacher said. "One of the most common places for accidental exposure is restaurants", he said. "The majority of people who die from food allergy are actually aware of what they are allergic to".
And surprisingly, allergies often developed in adulthood, rather than childhood.
Allergies develop when your immune system mistakenly identifies a substance such as pollen, mold, animal dander, or food as harmful.
In all, almost half of those studied developed their food allergies as an adult, according to the researchers. "That's a lot of people on unnecessary elimination diets that could have consequences in terms of cost, worry and nutritional impact".
'We ask if they got an infection that may have compromised their immune systems, hormonal changes, like pregnancy, ' among other possible triggers, said Dr Gupta. So I'm not surprised they don't have them, even though they should.
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