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Allergy, Intolerance or Sensitivity?

Allergies, Intolerances or Sensitivities explained

Understanding the difference

Not sure whether it’s an allergy, intolerance or sensitivity? Let us clear that up for you. At Sensitivity Check, we specialise in deciphering sensitivities both related to food and non-food items, on a daily basis.

Distinguishing allergies from intolerances can be challenging, but allergies are often inherited and tend to persist throughout life, targeting specific items. On the other hand, intolerances are more flexible, and influenced by your diet and lifestyle. The silver lining? You can actively manage and potentially alleviate Intolerances through lifestyle adjustments.

an image of a woman itching her arm

How do I know if I have a sensitivity?

The first thing to note is what you’re experiencing may not be an allergy but rather a sensitivity to a specific food. And, with careful management, you may still be able to include that particular item in your diet.

But if it’s not an allergy, how do you know if it’s an intolerance or sensitivity? Here’s a breakdown. When your body struggles to digest a specific item, it likely indicates a sensitivity, this can be for both food and non-food items. The following are two common reasons for developing food sensitivities:

Insufficient Digestive Enzymes

Your body may lack the necessary digestive enzymes to efficiently process certain foods, leading to incomplete digestion and nutrient absorption.

Overconsumption

Consuming excessive amounts of the same item can trigger sensitivity reactions. Many symptoms stem from this overexposure, highlighting the importance of moderation in consumption.

How do I know if I have an allergy or a sensitivity?

The two biggest differences between an allergy and a sensitivity are usually quite easy to spot and they’re as follows:

Severity

Allergy symptoms are typically a lot more severe than sensitivity symptoms making it pretty obvious that what you’re dealing with is an allergy. With that said it’s always better to get tested to be certain.

Reaction Time

Allergy symptoms usually appear immediately and are much more severe than sensitivity symptoms. Sensitivity symptoms may emerge anywhere from 30 minutes to 48 hours after consumption, which can make identifying the culprit more challenging.

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Allergy Symptoms Vs Sensitivity Symptoms

Allergic reactions can be shown in various ways, in many cases seriously impacting your well-being. Common allergic reactions include the following:

Swelling

Swelling in specific areas (throat or tongue)

Skin Rashes

Skin rashes

Respiratory Issues

Respiratory Issues

Common symptoms associated with sensitivities include the following:

Headaches

Headaches

Nausea

Bloating

Localised itching

Localised itching

Seizures

Skin irritations like eczema

Seizures

Excessive mucus production

Seizures

Gas

Seizures

Diarrhoea

Seizures

Fatigue

Understanding More About Allergies

How do I detect an allergy?

Allergies present themselves in various ways which severely impact our bodies. Ranging from localised swelling to a rash or even having difficulty breathing, these allergic reactions can affect our daily routine.

Allergies are typically identified through a blood test measuring the levels of Immunoglobulin E (IgE), as these are specific blood cells that help to combat allergies. If you’re allergic to a particular food or non-food item, your body will react immediately when it comes into contact with it. Allergy testing is available from reputable sites like LINK Lifelab Testing and Test Your Intolerance

What could I be allergic to?

Peanuts, shellfish, egg, and soy are among the most prevalent food allergens, so it’s crucial to be cautious around these foods especially if you’re anxious about whether you have an allergy or not. Getting tested is always a safe bet to help you understand whether you have allergies.
an image of a woman blowing her nose

Allergy Vs Intolerance Vs Sensitivity

an image of a of a man with allergies

Allergy

The most common method of diagnosing allergies is with a simple blood test, usually testing the IgE or IgG levels in the blood. Typically, IgE allergies are immediate responses to a foreign substance that has entered the body.

Where do they come from though? These foreign substances can come from food or can come from inhalation. IgE allergies can cause very serious symptoms like difficulty breathing, swelling, and hives. In even more serious cases, IgE reactions can lead to anaphylactic shock.

Intolerance

By comparison, an intolerance is not as severe and immediate as an allergy. These symptoms come on gradually; anything from 30 minutes up to 48 hours later. These symptoms might include headaches, bloating, localised itching or skin irritations such as eczema, excessive mucous production, excessive gas, diarrhoea, and fatigue.

Food Sensitivity

In contrast to IgE-mediated food allergies, IgG4 food sensitivities are typically milder. Symptoms can include:

Headaches

Headaches

Nausea

Nausea

Seizures

Seizures

Hyperactivity

Hyperactivity

These symptoms often occur hours or even days after consuming the trigger food. The severity of these symptoms varies depending on individual genetic factors. Managing IgG4 food sensitivities usually involves eliminating problematic foods from the diet and supporting digestion with probiotics.

Ultimately, if these symptoms relate to you, it’s not a complete disaster! IgG4 food sensitivities are generally treated by removing problem foods from the diet and by helping digestion with probiotics.

Discover the cause of your symptoms and start a path to better wellness with a Sensitivity Check today

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