What Is An Allergy Test - Test Your Intolerance

Allergies are a phenomenon in which the body reacts to various substances. These substances can be of various types and origins and are known as allergens. According to World Health Organisation’s statistics, Allergies, at the moment, is the most common chronic health conditions in the world. The European Academy of Allergy & Clinical Immunology (EAACI) in 2016 stated “More than 150 million Europeans suffer from chronic allergic diseases and the current prediction is that by 2025 half of the entire EU population will be affected”.

Some Interesting Allergy Test Statistics

The United Kingdom, has great prevalence rate of allergies. Levy et al (2004) has claimed that UK has some of the highest prevalence rates of allergic conditions in the world, with over 20% of the population affected by one or more allergic disorder. British Society for Allergy and Clinical Immunology (BSACI) have repeatedly declared that a staggering 44% of British adults now suffer from at least one type of allergy and this is costing NHS around £900 million each year. Pawankar R et al (2003), has claimed that the World Allergy Organisation (WAO) statistics show that allergy prevalence of the world population by country ranges between 10 – 40%.

How Allergies work

During an allergic reaction, our body responds to the allergen that enters the body. The response is initiated by the immune system by creating immunoglobulin (IgE). These IgE antibodies function by binding to mast cells (allergy cells) that live in your skin, respiratory tract (airways) and the mucus membrane in the organs that connect to each other from your mouth to your anus (gastrointestinal or GI tract). The IgE, remove the allergens, by taking them to the mast cell (allergy cell). These mast cells attach to a special receptor that causes the allergy cell to release histamine. Histamine is what causes your allergy symptoms.

The immunoglobulin (IgE) are specific to each type of allergen, thus some people are only allergic to pollen while others have allergic reactions to multiple allergens because they have many more types of IgE antibodies. Allergens enter the Human Body in many ways to cause an allergic reaction, like inhaling allergens into the nose and lungs, ingesting allergens by mouth, absorption and/or injection of allergens into the body (including medicine given by needle and venom from insect stings and bites). The various types of allergens include:

  • Animal origin
  • Medicines
  • Foods
  • Eggs
  • Lactose
  • Milk
  • Peanut
  • Shellfish
  • Soy
  • Tree Nuts
  • Wheat
  • Dust Mites
  • Pollen
  • Mold
  • Poison Ivy and/or Poison Oak
  • Insect Sting
  • Latex

Allergy symptoms primarily depend on the substances involved and can range from mild to severe. These allergic reactions can have single and multiple effects on your body, like effecting your airways, sinuses and nasal passages, skin, and digestive system. In scenarios where there is severe case, allergies can trigger a life-threatening reaction known as anaphylaxis.

How Allergy Test Works

The detection of allergies and the source or cause of allergies is of great importance. Allergy testing has great benefits and advantages that are crucial for both, those suffering from mild and life-threatening symptoms. Identification and diagnosis of these allergens and allergic conditions is the most important step towards prevention, relief and treatment. These tests allow to identify the reasons that are causing the patient’s symptoms. Based on the initial evaluation, the doctor can suggest which type of testing is effective:

  • Skin testing: This is the most common type of testing and is very well tolerated by the patient. The test involves placing a small amount of the suspected allergen on the skin (usually the forearm, upper arm, or the back). The second step involves scratching or pricking the skin so that the allergen is introduced under the skin surface.
  • Blood testing: These tests are done to identify the presence of allergy related and increased levels of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies. There are two general types of allergy blood tests:
  • A total IgE test measures the total amount of IgE antibodies in blood.
  • A specific IgE test measures how much IgE your body makes in response to a single allergen and is done separately for each allergen.
  • Challenge testing: In case of inconclusive test results, this type of testing is done but should only be performed under the close supervision of the practitioner who is treating the patient. The suspected allergen substance (food/drug) is given in increasingly larger amounts and close observation to the tolerance and symptoms upon administration of the allergen is done.

Finding An Allergy Test That Works For You

Finding an allergy test that works for you can be done through Test Your Intolerance. We have a plethora of tests open for your choosing to uncover your allergies and furthermore learn more about your body and how it functions. The view the tests that we offer follow the link here. If you want to read about which test is best suited to your needs this page explains everything you need to know about the tests that we provide.