Intolerance or allergy? That's the difference.

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In today's world, many people face different health challenges, including intolerances and allergies. These terms are often confused or used interchangeably, but they actually have very different meanings and effects on the body. In this article, we will take a closer look at the difference between intolerances, intolerances and allergies.

Intolerance: When the body doesn't play along
Intolerances, also known as food intolerances, are reactions of the body to certain foods or ingredients. They are generally not life-threatening, but can cause unpleasant symptoms. The special thing about intolerances is that they are usually dose-dependent. This means that the severity of the reaction often depends on the amount of food consumed.

The most common forms of intolerance include lactose intolerance, gluten intolerance (coeliac disease) and histamine intolerance. Symptoms of intolerances can include digestive problems, abdominal pain, bloating, diarrhea or skin rashes. These symptoms usually occur a few hours after eating the problematic food.

Intolerance: When digestive problems occur
Intolerances are similar to intolerances in that they can cause digestive problems. However, intolerances occur when the body is unable to digest certain foods or ingredients properly. A well-known example is lactose intolerance, where the body has difficulty breaking down lactose. This leads to digestive symptoms such as bloating, abdominal pain and diarrhea.

Other types of intolerances can extend to certain sugars or sugar alcohols found in some foods. Unlike intolerances, intolerances are usually not immune-mediated, which means that the immune system is not directly involved.

Allergy: When the immune system reacts
Allergies, on the other hand, are a reaction of the immune system to certain substances that are normally harmless, such as pollen, animal dander or certain foods. The immune system reacts to these substances by producing antibodies, which leads to allergic reactions. Allergies can be severe and in some cases life-threatening, especially when severe anaphylaxis is involved.

The symptoms of allergies can range from mild skin rashes and itching to shortness of breath, swelling of the face or even anaphylactic shock. In contrast to intolerances and intolerances, allergic reactions usually occur quickly after contact with the allergenic substance.

Diagnosis and management
The distinction between intolerances, intolerances and allergies is crucial for correct diagnosis and management. People with allergies need to accurately identify their triggers and carry potentially life-saving emergency medication such as epinephrine. For people with intolerances or intolerances, management usually means avoiding the problematic foods or using enzyme supplements to aid digestion.

In all cases, it is important to work with a medical specialist to get an accurate diagnosis and find the best approaches for individual health care.

Intolerances, intolerances and allergies are three different types of reactions the body has to certain substances. While intolerances and intolerances are usually dose-related and not life-threatening, allergies can be severe and require immediate medical attention. Distinguishing between them is crucial to ensure the correct diagnosis and management and to improve the quality of life of those affected.

In any case, if you suspect an intolerance, intolerance or allergy, it is advisable to consult a doctor to determine the exact cause of your symptoms and discuss the best course of action for your health.
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