DESCRIBING ALLERGY

Sunday, December 26, 2010 10:22
Posted in category Allergies

This broad knowledge is a good start but hardly sufficient to solve the problems of allergy. The allergy specialists find that the information about it is still incomplete.
There is a relationship between immunity and allergy. In immunity a foreign substance called an antigen stimulates the formation inside us of an antibody to combat it. Allergy is usually considered to be an undesirable manifestation of the antigen-antibody reaction.   When a foreign substance gains entrance to the tissues, the cells in turn produce an antibody against it. Where there is allergy the antibody in some manner attaches to certain tissue cells and renders them sensitive to further contact with the inciting antigen. After an appropriate interval, if contact with the foreign substance again occurs, some irritating substances, the chief one being called histamine, are liberated. These are thought to be directly responsible for the allergic signs and symptoms.
The human afflictions which are described as allergic would not seem to be due to the emotions but there are evidently two schools of thought as to the degree of relationship.
I have a friend who specializes in allergy and who describes himself as way out on the left. He thinks that the emotions play a small part. A woman has lived in the city all her life and has hardly laid eyes on a field of grain. Yet a series of tests show that her severe allergy is due to buckwheat. Further investigation shows that her husband is a furrier and uses buckwheat flour in his work. An asthmatic boy is sent west to school as his physician has a hunch that family difficulties are mostly responsible. The scheme works beautifully and he is entirely free of his asthma. Later on he feels that he needs more room furnishings and among other things a feather pillow comes on. Immediately his asthma returns. With thorough investigation undoubtedly most cases of allergy can be shown to have a physical basis. But they certainly can be aggravated by the emotions, or helped by a proper frame of mind. Most patients who go to a distant allergy clinic with buoyant spirit receive temporary relief.   Unfortunately a good many later backslide.
Anyway, whether allergy is a manifestation of the immunity reaction, or is associated with the emotions, or, as is presumably the case, is related to both of these, it seems safe to say that it is a condition of unusual or exaggerated specific susceptibility to a substance which is harmless in similar amounts for the majority of people. There is good evidence that it is a familial trait or, in ordinary language, that it runs in families. Likewise, it usually represents an ingrown constitutional defect, which means that you are just built that way. No matter how well you are doing at any one time, you may have recurrences of different clinical varieties.   These may involve skin, bronchi, nose, and intestinal tract. It may show as arthritis and trouble in the connective tissue, or, in fact, in about any part of the body. However, it should be stated that a majority of allergic individuals, whose allergies have been properly handled, become completely symptom-free and live normal, happy lives.
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