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An overview of various allergic conditions

  • Posted on- Aug 27, 2015
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Allergy is a condition of overreaction of the immune system in certain individuals to some harmless substances. Allergic reactions are excessive activation of certain white blood cells called mast cells and an antibody called immunoglobulin E (IgE). This results in an inflammatory response which can range from uncomfortable symptoms to life threatening situations. Off late, there have been recent increases in the incidence of allergic disorders. Infectious diseases during early childhood, environmental pollution, allergen levels, and dietary changes are the reasons behind major allergies. Here are some common allergic disorders which when understood are easier to manage:

ASTHMA
Asthma is a complex clinical syndrome of chronic airway inflammation characterized by recurrent, reversible, airway obstruction. Airway inflammation also leads to airway hyper-reactivity, which causes airways to narrow in response to various stimuli. The risk factors for asthma include family history of allergic conditions, personal history of hay fever, viral respiratory illness, exposure to cigarette smoke and obesity.

ATOPIC DERMATITIS
Atopic dermatitis is a common, often long-lasting skin disease that affects a large percentage of the world’s population. It is a special type of hypersensitivity that includes asthma, hay fever and chronic dermatitis. There is a known hereditary component of the disease, and it is more common in affected families. Criteria that enable your doctor to diagnose it include the typical appearance and distribution of the rash in a patient with a personal or family history of asthma or hay fever. In atopic dermatitis, the skin becomes extremely itchy and inflamed, causing redness, swelling, cracking, weeping, crusting, and scaling.

HAY FEVER
Hay fever effects up to 30% of all people worldwide. Although childhood hay fever tends to be more common, this condition can occur at any age and usually occurs after years of repeated inhalation of allergic substances. Symptoms of allergic rhinitis, or hay fever, frequently include nasal congestion, a clear runny nose, sneezing, nose-eye itching and excess tear production in the eyes.

SINUS INFECTIONS
Sinus infections are caused by infections from a virus, bacterium, or fungus which grows within a sinus and causes intermittent blockage of the sinus ostium. The condition leads to inflammation of the air cavities within the passages of the nose. Sinusitis can be caused by infection, but also can be caused by allergies and chemical or particulate irritation of the sinuses. Sinusitis may be classified in several ways such as acute sinus infection, subacute sinus infection, chronic sinus infection, infected sinusitis, and non-infectious sinusitis.

HIVES
Hives (medically known as urticaria) appear on the skin as wheals that are red, very itchy, smoothly elevated areas of skin often with a blanched centre. They appear in varying shapes and sizes, from a few millimetres to several centimetres in diameter anywhere on the body. It is estimated that 20% of all people will develop urticaria at some point in their lives. Hives is more common in women than in men. One aspect of hives is its tendency to change size rapidly and to move around, disappearing in one place and reappearing in other places, often in a matter of hours.

HOARSENESS
Hoarseness is an abnormal change in the voice caused by a variety of conditions. The voice may have changes in pitch and volume, ranging from a deep, harsh voice to a weak, raspy voice. Hoarseness can be caused by a number of conditions. The most common cause of hoarseness is acute laryngitis (inflammation of the vocal cords) caused most often by an upper respiratory tract infection (usually viral), and less commonly from overuse or misuse of the voice (such as from yelling or singing).

RHINITIS AND POST-NASAL DRIP
Rhinitis is a very common condition and has many different causes. Basically, rhinitis may be defined as inflammation of the inner lining of the nose. More specifically speaking, it may be defined by the presence of one or more of the following symptoms runny nose, nasal itching, nasal congestion and sneezing.

Post-nasal drip is mucus accumulation in the back of the nose and throat leading to, or giving the sensation of, mucus dripping downward from the back of the nose. One of the most common characteristics of chronic rhinitis is post-nasal drip. Post-nasal drip may lead to chronic sore throat, chronic cough, or throat clearing.

ALLERGIC CONJUNCTIVITIS
Characterized by inflammation of the eyes it is the most common form of allergic eye disease. Symptoms can include itchy and watery eyes and lid distress. Allergic conjunctivitis is also commonly associated with the presence of other allergic diseases such as atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis and asthma.

These are some of the allergic conditions that one may experience during their lifetime. In order to avoid them, it’s best to avoid the allergen. Plus, a regular consultation with an allergist suits to the cause.