Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Adult Onset of Food Allergies

I’m delighted to welcome recent readers from Hong Kong, Iran, and Israel, as well as a steadily increasing stream of readers from the USA, Canada, and various European countries.  Please continue to visit, and bring your friends!

This will be a short post today, but I wanted to share with you what I’ve been thinking about the past few days.  I’ve started receiving regular “Google Alerts” for anything that appears on the web about multiple food allergies, and one item that caught my attention was a post in the “Allergy Community” section of a website called www.medhelp.org.  The post was from a woman who as an adult began experiencing food allergies to a variety of foods, though she had not had prior food allergies.  Some of her food allergies are not to the currently recognized “Top 8”, and some started out as mild allergies but got more severe if she continued to eat those foods.  Her further frustration is that the number of food allergies she has is increasing, and she’s afraid she’ll soon have nothing that is safe for her to eat.

This resonated with me because it’s all too true a scenario that my own family has experienced – first with my mother, then with myself.  Adult onset of food allergies, and the growing number and diversity of those allergies, seem to be topics much less frequently addressed than food-allergic kids and the “Top 8” food allergies.  This is not only disturbing to those of us who as adults developed food allergies but also disheartening because far too few people know (as I do from my own research and personal experience) that there are myriad alternative foods as well as extensive information that can help this large segment of the population.

Obviously this blog is one such resource, and I strive daily to add more sources of information and support to it.  My magazine articles and of course my book that I hope to have published soon are also inspired by my desire to provide such information and encouragement.  There are a few other sites out there that also address food allergies beyond the “Top 8” and aren’t aimed primarily at kids (see the links to the left and right of this post).  Nonetheless I am wondering how to reach more people like the woman who posted on the medhelp.org website – when I investigated further I found many more posts from as far back as 2007 from adults who, like her, were experiencing adult onset of food allergies and didn’t know where to turn for help in order to still be able to eat well.

I would love to hear your comments and anything about your own experiences with adult onset food allergies – both the difficulties and the solutions you’ve found.  And I promise I’ll share with you whatever I can find that will be of help, too.

6 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hello and thank you for this. I have never been allergic to anything in my life and two weeks ago was taken by ambulance to hospital with severe anaphylaxis. I am 29 and scared out of my brain. I think this is the first article (after much searching) I have seen which addresses late onset of allergies in any way. I have received a diagnosis after much testing and am allergic to a few food types in addition to a LTP. Trying to find information on these things in adults is like pulling teeth. I know you posted this a while ago but months later, it has certainly been a help to me. Thank you.

Bethany Niazian said...

I am certainly happy to hear the info I provided was helpful to you, and I totally understand the fear that sudden food allergy reactions can cause. I hope you are doing better, and I encourage you to explore the links on this site to find out more about how you can live well despite food allergies. Thank you for sharing your experience with me and the readers on this blog. Please keep us updated on your progress!

eka said...

must be something about the late 20's! 19 months ago i had my first anaphylactic reaction and after 5 hospitalisations, including 3 shots of adrenalin per trip for the last 2, finally i've been diagnosed as anaphylactic to 13 foods. I've found it impossible to find recipes that don't include at least 1 allergen in them, but through a lot of searching i'm slowly getting there. There isn't much support where i am for adults, more for kids. I'm almost at the 6mth mark from my last hospitalisation so every day is more hopeful than the last :)

patricia anderson said...

Yup. This is me, too. Over the past two years I have suffered from a myriad of health problems ranging from just not feeling right to severe abdominal pains, nausea, chronic bronchitis, urinary tract infections, and mental fogginess. I went to a few specialists and had many tests done, all inconclusive, no help, and I kept suffering. I used up all my sick time and was docked about $500 in addition to the medical expenses. Finally, this summer, I thought, "Let me at least stop this bronchitis issue--I'll go see an ENT/Allergist."
I finally got answers--too many answers! I'm allergic to a very long list of foods as well as environmental allergens. I also was diagnosed with asthma. So, at 42 years old I have to learn to eat and cook in a totally new direction. It's very frustrating to be allergic to a heck of a lot more than the "Top 8" allergens. I appreciate this site and the work you continue to put into it.

Bethany Niazian said...

Patricia, thank you so much for sharing your experiences. I see a lot of parallels with what other people I know have experienced, especially the frustration of having a variety of health problems and not getting any conclusive diagnosis from doctors. One thing you might want to look into is your enzymes, as recently my mother was told by a specialist that some people have a hereditary enzyme imbalance that can cause what appear to be food allergies but actually aren't. She's following up with that and I'll post whatever info I hear that might help others.

Bethany Niazian said...

Eka, thanks for your comments and sharing your experiences. I am sure that you will find recipes on this blog and related links that can help you, especially since my focus is on avoiding more than just the "Top 8" most commonly-recognized food allergies. If you're looking for a specific type of recipe or using specific ingredients, please don't hesitate to ask me :-)