You just ate something and now your tummy is aching and you need to rush to the bathroom. Are you intolerant to the food you just ate? Or are you allergic to it? This article will tell you the key differences between food intolerance and food allergy — knowing which is which can help save your life or that of someone you care about.
Food intolerance is something that tends to produce symptoms that are limited to the digestive system. It’s for the fact that your digestive system simply doesn’t like the food you ate or something in it.
Some of the most common symptoms of food intolerance are nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, bloating, excess gas and diarrhea. As you can see, all of them have something to do with the digestive system. However, if you have food intolerance it’s also very much possible for you to encounter headaches as well as irritability, anxiety or depression — numerous studies have shown that the gut is actually linked to a person’s mood.
One thing about food intolerance that you need to know about is it may show up only if you eat a lot of the triggering food. So in other words, it’s possible for you to have no symptom after consuming just a small amount of the food you are intolerant to. It’s exactly for this reason why some people who have lactose intolerance, which is a type of food intolerance, may encounter all sorts of unfavorable digestive symptoms only after consuming lots and lots of milk or any other food product that has milk in it.
Also, in some instances it’s possible to keep the symptoms from striking. For instance, if you suffer from lactose intolerance you may pop lactase enzyme pills in your mouth in order to keep at bay the symptoms of lactose intolerance.
Definitely, food intolerance is something that won’t put your life in danger. However, the same cannot be said for food allergy — it’s something that can in fact cost you your life especially if it’s severe.
The problem with food allergy is it involves something else than your digestive system — your immune system. Each time you eat anything that you’re allergic to your immune system thinks that what you just ate is a foreign object that can put your life in peril. As a result of such, your immune system springs into action by attacking the food that you just consumed. Sadly, this very act of your immune system to save your life is something that can actually put your life in danger.
What makes food allergy potentially dangerous is what’s referred to as anaphylaxis — a severe and life-threatening form of allergic reaction that involves inflammation and a drop in the blood pressure.
Other allergic reactions tend to be limited to only one system of your body. On the other hand, anaphylaxis usually involve more than one system. What more, it also tends to strike within seconds or a few minutes after the consumption of the triggering food. Needless to say, anaphylaxis is regarded as a medical emergency.
However, it’s not all the time that anaphylaxis strikes. A person with food allergy may simply encounter the same symptoms associated with food intolerance, although additional ones such as rash, skin itching, chest pain and shortness of breath may be experienced as well. And unlike food intolerance, food allergy may cause the symptoms to come into being no matter the amount of food consumed. In fact, there are cases in which inhaling the food that the person is allergic to is enough to cause an unfavorable reaction.
The minute you develop a side effect to something that you just ate, it’s a good idea for you to be seen by a doctor without delay so that it may be determined whether it is food intolerance or food allergy that you have.