THE SCI­ENCE BE­HIND AL­LER­GIES

Fairlady - - TRIGGER POINTS -

Al­ler­gic re­ac­tions are of­ten re­ferred to as ‘hy­per­sen­si­tiv­ity re­ac­tions’, which de­scribes a re­sponse pro­duced by your body’s nor­mal im­mune sys­tem.

Those who suf­fer from al­ler­gies are re­spond­ing neg­a­tively to al­ler­gens in the en­vi­ron­ment that are oth­er­wise harm­less to most other peo­ple. Al­ler­gens are things that you are al­ler­gic to. Un­der nor­mal cir­cum­stances, the im­mune sys­tem de­fends your body against for­eign sub­stances (anti­gens). In al­lergy suf­fer­ers, al­ler­gens are mis­taken for dan­ger­ous in­vaders, and are at­tacked as if they are a virus or bac­te­ria.

There is a ge­netic link: if one or both of your par­ents suf­fered from al­ler­gies, chances are you will too. Re­search in­di­cates a sus­cep­ti­bil­ity to al­ler­gies in gen­eral rather than a spe­cific one. Ev­i­dence sug­gests that at least one ma­jor ge­netic aber­ra­tion could be the cause of ev­ery­thing from hay fever and food al­ler­gies to asthma. This group of peo­ple have what is called ‘atopy’ – when atopic peo­ple are ex­posed to al­ler­gens, their bod­ies re­lease chem­i­cals that cause in­flam­ma­tion, which re­sults in red­ness and swelling (with or with­out more sig­nif­i­cant symp­toms).

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from South Africa

© PressReader. All rights reserved.