Almost everyone is allergic to something, but even if you are one of the lucky few who aren’t, you know someone who is. At a certain time in the spring or fall, your eyes grow itchy and turn red and puffy; your nose gets stuffed up and you develop a cough; you feel and sound as if you have a perpetual cold. These symptoms are caused by seasonal allergies—pollens or dust in the air.
Do you know someone who is deathly allergic to peanuts? Food allergies have varying levels of effects, from hives and swollen tongue to intestinal distress to full on anaphylactic shock. Further, some folks are allergic to chemicals like those in detergents and perfumes or that “new car smell” everyone is so nostalgic about. You know what that new car smell is? The fumes of toxic chemicals.
We all know allergies exist, but what are they exactly? What causes allergies and why can they be so debilitating?
The answer is, your immune system. Your immune system comprises the cells, tissues, and organs designed to fight off “invaders” to your body—microbes such as bacteria, parasites, viruses, and fungi that cause infections. Your immune system does a lot of good for your body—you couldn’t fight off infections and diseases without it—but it also causes allergies.
Here’s how. When microbes invade your body—these are called antigens—your immune system creates defenders to attack the invader and prevent or reduce infection or disease. These defenders are called antibodies, and when they attack the antigens, they create an inflammatory response—pain, heat, redness, and swelling—in the mucous membranes. The inflammation is caused by increased blood flow and the cells and chemicals sent to repair the damaged area. That’s how you know the immune system is working.
How is this connected to allergies? Once these antibodies are created, they never go away. Whenever you are exposed to similar invaders, whether they are a real threat or not, these antibodies create the same inflammatory response in the mucus membranes—but this time on hyper-drive. They can’t turn themselves off, and this overactive immune response creates the allergy symptoms we are familiar with—itchy eyes, stuffed nose, belly aches, joint pain, fatigue.
Why? The cause is not entirely clear, but this overactive inflammatory response has been associated with great stress, processed foods, chemicals, and other invaders, and there is likely a genetic component as well.
The mucous membranes we are most familiar with are those lining the respiratory system—our noses, throats, sinuses, mouths, and so on. Hence the runny and stuffed noses common to typical allergies. But mucous membranes surround all of our internal organs and line the digestive and reproductive tracts as well. In fact, there are over 400 square meters of mucous membranes in the human body, contrasted with just 2 square meters of skin. That’s a lot of mucous membranes, and when these mucous membranes are inflamed by an immune response, this affects the whole body. It overtaxes the immune system, weakening the body’s defenses and opening the body to other invaders.
The usual treatment for allergies is an array of expensive, time-consuming, office-based shots—a treatment difficult for busy people to stick with.
But we at Abundant Health Arizona have a better way, one that is both simpler and more effective. We have a three-pronged approach that relieves not only the symptoms of allergies but addresses the underlying causes:
- Environmental counseling: What changes can you make in your environment to reduce your allergic reactions?
- Medication counseling: What medications will help relieve your symptoms?
- Sublingual immunotherapy: Allergy medication in the form of drops taken under the tongue rather than by shots.
The sublingual allergy drops are small doses of the allergen that help boost tolerance. These drops are central to our advanced treatment because they are customized for each patient. After two sets of tests—the first to determine the general pattern of allergic reactions, the second to pinpoint specific allergens—our world-class Allergy Specialist mixes the drops in her lab based on the patient’s allergy profile. The patient takes them on their own, with. minimal office time and no shots—perfect for today’s busy world.
Patients who have undergone our allergy treatments have
- Improved their general health
- Reduced the number of sinus and ear infections
- Decreased the number of asthma episodes
- Avoided expensive and invasive surgeries
- Decreased or eliminated the use of asthma inhalers.
In short, our allergy patients have better health, more energy, and a higher quality of life.
Are your allergies preventing you from living a full and joyful life? Are you tired of taking time out of your busy week to get those allergy shots?
There’s an easier way. Come in to Abundant Health Arizona for our allergy diagnostic.