Food Allergies: GlossaryThursday, March 22, 2012 - 15:42
Here are definitions of medical terms related to Food Allergies And Intolerance.
Additive: A substance, such as an artificial color or preservative, added to food.
Allergen: A substance that produces an allergic reaction.
Allergy: The body's exaggerated reaction to a foreign substance that is harmless to most people. For a reaction to be considered an allergic reaction, it must involve the immune system. The foreign substance may be eaten, inhaled or injected.
Anaphylaxis: A severe allergic reaction that involves much of the body-the respiratory system, skin, digestive tract and, sometimes, blood circulation. Symptoms include cough, wheezing, closing of the throat, runny nose, hives and swelling, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, cramps and a drop in blood pressure that may cause loss of consciousness and even death. However it is important to know that a life-threatening or fatal reaction may occur without skin symptoms.
Antibody: A protein made by the body's immune system to combat foreign substance, most often a foreign protein.
Antihistamine: A medicine used to counteract histamine, a chemical released by the body in an allergic reaction, which contributes to the inflammation.
Atopic dermatitis: See eczema.
Biopsy: Removal of tissue for examination.
Cross contamination: When a small amount of food accidentally gets into another food.
Double-blind study: A trial in which neither the patient nor physician can distinguish between the real thing (for example a pill) and the inactive substance(the dummy pill).
Eczema (atopic dermatitis): A non-scarring skin rash that usually begins in childhood. Allergy may be involved in less than half of all children with eczema.
Enzyme: A protein that helps other chemical reactions occur, but isn't itself affected in the reaction.
Epinephrine (also known as adrenaline): A hormone, also used as a drug used to treat anaphylactic shock.
Histamine: A chemical in certain body cells, which contributes to inflammation and causes itching, swelling, sneezing and other allergic symptoms.
Hives: An allergic condition characterized by red, slightly swollen eruptions or itchy lumps on the skin.
hypersensitivity: Another word for allergy.
IgE (Immunoglobulin E): One type of antibody that defends the body against outside invaders. When certain proteins interact with specidic IgE antibodies the resulting reaction is an allergic reaction.
Immune system: The body's defense system, which fights disease and infections.
Immunoglobulin: A group of proteins known as antibodies that are involved in defending the body against outside invaders.
Inflammation: A protective reaction to an injury that may cause severe discomfort.
Mast cells: Cells present close to body surfaces (such as the skin and intestines), which produce and release chemicals-for instance, histamine-which then produce allergic symptoms.
Metabolism: The building and breaking that occurs continually in the body.
Placebo: A substance used in testing that has no known physical effect on the body. It may have a powerful psychological effect, however.
Toxin: A poison.
Vaccine: An injection given to induce immunity and protect against a certain germ.