Allergy diagnosis is often via self-diagnosis, conventional medical diagnosis and options often referred to as unorthodox or unproven.
Which ever you choose, be careful. This is your life or the life of a loved one and mis-diagnosis can be costly or even deadly.
Self-diagnosis is on the rise in Australia and around the world. As sufferers learn more about the symptoms they come to a conclusion about what they are suffering. Often they are spot on however the general consensus is that you should seek medical advice. The treatment of a sensitivity, intolerance or allergy can be very different so a correct understanding of your condition and knowledge of how to manage and treat the condition is very important.
Self-diagnosing food allergies is of growing concern to the medical professionals as it often leads to unnecessary dietary restrictions and inadequate nutrition, especially in children.
Common medical tests for allergies involve
- Skin prick tests (also known as scratch test or puncture test) - this involves a doctor or nurse placing a drop of each potential allergen on your skin and then they prick your skin, allowing the allergen to enter. Fifteen minutes later you’ll be able to see how your skin reacts to each allergen.
- Blood test (specifically Immunoglobulin E (IgE) this was previously known as the RAST or RadioAllergoSorbent Test) - this involves a blood sample to check for specific IgE antibodies. This can help your doctor see what allergens are responsible for your allergy symptoms.
- Oral allergy challenge - this involves consuming a drug capsule or the natural food to confirm an allergy. It is not completed in isolation, but rather is used to confirm the diagnosis (positive or negative) from other forms of testing.
- Trial elimination diet - this can be done at home, under medical guidance, and involves removing suspected allergens from the diet for a certain period. As the suspicious foods are reintroduced, a food diary is used to track the food and any reactions.
Remember, for all these tests, that false reactions can occur - so results need to be assessed with your symptoms. Once the offending allergen or allergens are identified, you should try to avoid or reduce exposure to them in future.
Unorthodox allergy testing is often the label given to the following types of allergy testing and diagnosis
- cytotoxic food testing,
- Vega testing,
- electrodermal testing,
- pulse testing,
- hair analysis.
Each has different ways of testing, loud supporters and even louder critics - with their use in allergy diagnosis often being considered controversial. For further information on any of these options please search via google or visit the ASCIA website.
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