Tuesday, December 27, 2011

About Allergies: Be Careful With Screening Allergy Blood Testing

If you can't see this email, click here



Symptoms / Diagnosis



From Daniel More, MD, your Guide to Allergies
Nearly everyday I have patients referred to my office from other physicians to help interpret blood tests looking for allergies. All too often, a physician who lacks training in the diagnosis and treatment of allergic disease will order a screening allergy blood test, which measures the amount of IgE, or allegic antibody, in the blood. These screening tests check for a wide range of allergens, including pollens, molds, animal dander, dust mites, and typically a wide variety of foods. While this may sound like a good thing, false positive results are extremely common. For example, particularly in atopic children, it is common for allergy blood tests to show positive results to at least some foods. However, if the child can eat those foods without experiencing symptoms of an allergic reaction, then that child is not allergic to the food in question. The same can be sa id for environmental allergens -- if a person's blood test shows allergic antibodies towards dog dander, but that person experiences no allergic symptoms with dog exposure, then they aren't allergic to dogs. The bottom line is that allergy tests don't diagnose allergies -- taking a good medical history, and using allergy testing as a confirmation, makes the diagnosis of allergies.

All About Allergy Testing
Allergy testing measures how a person reacts to specific allergens, such as tree pollen, pet dander, foods, medications or molds. A "positive" allergy test means that a person has a specific allergic antibody to the substance tested. This often means that the person is allergic to the substance, meaning that the person will experience symptoms when exposed to the allergen. However, a positive allergy test does not necessarily mean that the person is indeed allergic to the substance. A person may have a positive allergy test to dog dander, for example, but experience no symptoms with exposure to dogs. In addition, a person may have multiple positive food allergy tests, but be able to eat these foods without any bad reactions.
See More About:  hayfever  antihistamines  see an allergist

Diagnosis of Allergies
Symptoms of allergic diseases can certainly give strong hints that a person is indeed suffering from allergies. However, in most cases, various tests are required to confirm a diagnosis. Testing depends on the type of allergic disease in question.

Should You See an Allergist?
An allergist/immunologist is a medical doctor with specialty training in the diagnosis and treatment of allergic diseases, asthma and diseases of the immune system. To become an allergist, a person must attend college (4 years) and medical school (4 years), and undergo residency training in either internal medicine or pediatrics (3 years each). The physician then must pass a difficult exam to become board-certified in either of these fields. Once board-certified, the internist or pediatrician may decide to obtain additional specialty training in allergy and immunology, called a fellowship (2 years). An allergist/immunologist who is board-certified has also passed an additional examination showing competence in the fields of allergy and immunology.

Alternative Therapies in the Diagnosis and Treatment of Allergies
Discussion of various alternative, controversial and unproven techniques in the diagnosis and treatment of allergic diseases, including the popular area of herbal supplements.


Allergies Ads
Featured Articles
Glossary of Terms
Information on the Most Common Allergy Medications
Allergy Basics
Frequently Asked Questions
Nose and Eye Allergies
Skin Allergies


More from About.com

Living with Depression
By obtaining the correct medical intervention and learning better coping skills, you can not only live with depression, but live well. More>

9 Symptoms of Depression
If you have experienced five or more of these symptoms within the same two week period, this could be indicative of an episode of depression. More>

This newsletter is written by:
Daniel More, MD
Allergies Guide
Email Me | My Blog | My Forum
Sign up for more free newsletters on your favorite topics
You are receiving this newsletter because you subscribed to the About Allergies newsletter. If you wish to change your email address or unsubscribe, please click here.

About respects your privacy: Our Privacy Policy

Contact Information:
249 West 17th Street
New York, NY, 10011

© 2011 About.com

Must Reads
What are Allergies?
Symptoms of Allergies
Diagnosis of Allergies
Treatment of Allergies
Preventing Allergies


No comments:

Post a Comment


Search This Blog

Blog Archive