Professional food allergy testing helps you and your allergist understand why your body reacts negatively after eating foods. There are various diagnostic approaches, and blood testing is used frequently as it offers precise results that contribute to your allergist’s eventual diagnosis. But is blood testing the best way for Atlanta patients to identify food sensitivity?
What Are Food Sensitivities?
Food sensitivity is a term used to discuss various symptoms experienced after exposure to a range of different foods. However, many people use this term to also describe “food intolerance” (a digestive issue where the body is unable to process certain foods). To explain, “lactose intolerance” is a well-known example of food intolerance, and causes uncomfortable bloating and diarrhea.
A person experiencing symptoms after eating a certain food (or foods) may use “food sensitivity” to describe food allergies. These symptoms are often mild to moderate, and can appear after consuming eggs, milk, peanuts, tree nuts, wheat and other foods. As noted in a CMAJ journal article, “food sensitivity is a nonspecific term that can include any symptom perceived to be related to food.”
Diagnosing Food Sensitivities With Blood Allergy Testing
Food allergy blood tests are highly accurate and can identify immune system responses to a range of foods. The testing process reveals the presence of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies that are produced in response to an allergen. High levels of IgE specific to a particular food usually indicate an allergic reaction to that food.
While skin prick testing offers more rapid results, blood tests do have an advantage in some cases. For example, blood tests are not affected by medications such as antihistamines, which can certainly interfere with skin prick tests.
Blood testing might be a valuable tool in helping diagnose a food allergy, but this is not the case for food intolerance. As food intolerances don’t produce IgE antibodies, an alternative approach is needed to precisely diagnose the food (or foods) that are triggering symptoms. And while today home blood tests for IgG antibodies are promoted widely, the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma & Immunology and others do not recommend them.
How Allergists Diagnose Food Sensitivities
If you or your child experience regular skin rashes, nasal congestion, watery eyes, itching, breathing difficulties or stomach bloating after eating certain foods, speak with an allergist for further guidance. A consultation can determine whether your food allergy, intolerance or sensitivity requires blood testing, skin prick testing, or an elimination diet for a firm diagnosis. Using symptom analysis, medical history review and test results, your allergist will guide you through your food allergy treatment options for effective relief.
Contact Us for Food Allergy Testing in Atlanta
If you suffer a reaction after eating foods, you may have an allergy and could benefit from skin prick or blood testing. For an efficient diagnosis from a professional allergist, visit one of our centers in Alpharetta, Atlanta, Canton, Cumming, Druid Hills, Duluth or Johns Creek. Call (678) 668-4688 or request an appointment today.
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