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dfish

Member Since 02 Mar 2005
Offline Last Active Jan 29 2006 05:52 PM
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Posts I've Made

In Topic: Is This Normal?

24 January 2006 - 12:58 PM

Thank you all for your responses. I'm not sure about the soy stuff. I have recently had extensive allergy testing, both IgE and IgG testing (RAST, Great Smokies, regular skin prick testing, Enterolab, etc) and the only things that I showed a huge response to was dairy (off the charts kind of stuff). Even my gluten intolerance was low and almost did not show up, but the doctor said just to be safe consider it "moderate" for a while until I see how I do without gluten or dairy. I am actually supposed to do an "elimination" type thing with gluten in a few months because my results were so low that it's not even clear if I have any type of reaction to gluten. The doctor truly thinks that dairy and eggs have been my main culprits all along (Interestingly, I started getting really sick and began having all of these health problems about two years ago when I went on Atkins, which, as we all know, includes a lot of cheese and eggs. Before that I was fine). The other things I tested highly IgE and IgG allergic to were bananas, asparagus, cranberries, and eggs. Soy was perfectly fine, as was everything else. Would I still be reacting to soy after doing all of this testing and getting these results consistently? Also, I do not have cross contamination because I am the only one that eats in my house, I've stopped eating out at restaurants, and I bought all new stuff when I got my diagnosis two years ago. I also use gluten free products on my hair, skin, face, etc. and thought I had pretty much eradicated gluten out of my life as much as is humanly possible. I guess what I am hearing is that this is probably not normal and that something else must be wrong?

Thank you so much again for all of your responses!

In Topic: Allergy Vs Intolerance

18 November 2005 - 08:18 AM

Thank you for the nice response! It has been a huge struggle for me to try to figure out what could "kill" me soon if I eat and what's going to "kill" me down the road. I've done so much research on the topic, I seriously thought about going back to school to become an allergist! Might make all this time and effort worth something :D Anyway, I'm not sure what the "average" rate for skin prick testing is but I have seen in most documents that it is generally between 14 and 1700 dollars. I got the bill for my skin prick tests about three weeks ago and it was 1679.00; that didn't include the doctor's fee. Fortunately, I have excellent insurance that paid for it all, but it won't pay for an ELISA. Gotta love insurance companies!

In Topic: Allergy Vs Intolerance

18 November 2005 - 05:23 AM

There is some confusion among professionals about what is an "allergy". They all agree that "true" food allergies are those that are mediated by IgE antibodies in our bodies. Those antibodies are the types that cause an immediate, histamine response by the body. Traditional "allergy" testing, such as skin prick testing, tests for true IgE mediated allergies, although they are more accurate for environmental allergies than for food allergies. What I have read (and I have been doing extensive research on this issue lately because I've had the same confusion) is that skin prick tests that test for IgE mediated responses to food are fairly accurate in ruling out IgE allergies (ie, a negative result is pretty much accurate) but not very accurate for ruling in food allergies (ie many false positives). And, this is for IgE allergies only If you have a food that you are highly allergic to, it will likely show up on a skin prick test and you will be told to avoid it. IgE mediated allergies are the type that cause anaphylaxis (ie, you accidentally get some cross contaminated soup with shellfish, throat starts swelling, pass out, shock, possible death, etc) and require people to carry around Epipens, etc. I had skin prick testing done to foods and had many that were "borderline" but four that were very, very high (strange ones like bananas, peaches, and celery and then all tree nuts). I now have to have an Epipen and have to make sure that I avoid these foods like the plague because, frankly, I could die if I eat them.

Where the debate is among medical professionals is whether or not food reactions that are mediated by IgG antibodies can be considered true food allergies. Some doctors and researchers say yes, some say "no". I'm inclined to believe myself that an IgG reaction is also an allergy. However, they are NOT the kind of allergies that will cause anaphylaxis. Rather, IgG food allergies are the kind that continue to cause gut permeability, brain fog, GI symptoms, etc. They are still bad for you and, I've come to think of them as the "long slow painful death" antibodies (ie, you're not going to die from anaphylactic shock, but in about twenty years, after corroding your body this way, it's bound to take it's toll somehow). There are not really any accurate tests that your doctor will likely give you for these types of allergies because the ELISA, the panel used to test for IgG antibodies specifically, seems to have fallen out of favor with doctors. One theory I have read frequently is that they have "fallen out of favor" because they only cost about 140 bucks whereas skin prick testing, the kind your doctor will likely do if you tell them you think you have food allergies, cost about 1600.00 and your doctor can bill you a lot higher for them. However, York Labs does an ELISA panel for IgG mediated allergies (but not IgE). Also, Great Smokies Laboratories will test both IgE and IgG food reactions but you have to have the tests ordered by your physician. If you have a good doc, they may be willing to order these tests for you. My research indicates that this may be the most comprehensive food allergy testing laboratory out there, it's just getting your doctor to cooperate that is the problem.

I should also note that, when talking about the accuracy of the skin prick tests in ruling out food allergies, that is only to rule out IgE mediated allergies. So, let's say that you test negative for milk on a skin prick test. It is fairly accurate that you do not have an "anaphylaxis" allergy to milk. But, you could still test positive to an IgG test for milk and that doesn't mean that the first test was wrong. It just means you don't have that histamine response to milk, but you are still allergic to milk. In sum, just because a skin prick test says "no" and that is found in the research to be accurate, it doesn't necessarily mean you should eat that food without first investigating your IgG antibodies as well.

Food intolerances, lastly, are not mediated by any type of antibody. They do not cause any type of "immune" response in the body, although they do cause discomfort and feeling ill. Lactose intolerance is a perfect example of this. A person who is lactose intolerant likely does not have the proper ability to digest the enzymes in lactose and when they eat it they feel terrible, get diarrhea and bloating, etc, BUT they are not having any antibodies in their body identifying that food as foreign and attacking it. A person who has a true milk allergy gets an immune response in their body when they drink milk. They have either IgE or IgG antibodies that attack the milk proteins.

Sorry for such a long post, but in my research, these are the conclusions I have come to. Food "allergies" are caused by antibodies and a true immune response in the body attacking the food protein as foreign. Food "intolerances" are a body just saying "eww, I don't like this and makes me feel yucky, don't eat that".

Hope that helps if you were able to wade through it!

Rachel

In Topic: What The H*$% Is Going On?

08 November 2005 - 06:13 PM

Thank you so much for all of your replies. This is just so horrible and confusing. As it stands now, I'm allergic to wheat, casein, eggs, celery, corn, carrots, chicken, fish, shellfish, legumes, melons, citrus, bananas, all tree nuts, hmmm, what else? The list is huge and ridiculous! I guess what I am having such a problem with is one, figuring out what to eat when I feel like I'm starving all of the time and even hypoallergenic foods are bothering me and two, why I am now allergic to everything when I've gone on for thirty years eating whatever I wanted and not having a problem at all? It seems like the more I cut out of my diet the worse my allergies are getting. Someone mentioned hypersensitivity. What does this mean? Does it go away? I'm tempted to just start eating everything again because it seems almost like the less stuff I eat the worse my allergies are getting. I cut out gluten, didn't feel better, cut out dairy, didn't feel better . . . thus, the skin allergy testing. Even the results of that are confusing. According to them, I'm just as allergic to saline as I am to wheat and corn and eggs? Does this make sense? I can't get a straight answer from the allergist, he just keeps telling me to stay away from the stuff I was REALLY allergic to, like bananas and peaches, and to eat the stuff I tested the same as the saline to "as tolerated". Well, I'm not able to tolerate anything any more. I guess I'm wondering if other people have this "hypersensitivity" thing all of the sudden and if it ever goes away?? What can I do to stop this horrible pattern of cutting out things and getting even more allergic?

Thank you again for all of your support!

Rachel

In Topic: Cd And Working, How Do You Cope?

15 October 2005 - 07:07 AM

I can so much understand what everyone is saying here. I have not gone a year and a half without calling in sick at least one time per week. I went from having over 300 hours of sick leave when all this started to 4 currently. I am lucky in a lot of respects because I have a job that allows me to "flex" time, so when I am feeling good I work weekends and then can "flex" the time out later in the week. But this doesn't account for how I personally feel like a failure because I want to be a good employee. I also have several bosses who don't understand this disease at all and who have "talked" to me about my absenteeism. My retort has always been for them to look at my work product, look at how I always meet my deadlines, to talk to others that I work with who praise my work very highly, and then they can talk to me about how my absenteeism is affecting my job. Since they can't say that my absenteeism is affecting my job, they back off. I am also union represented and know from others' experiences that it would be like pulling teeth to get me fired for something like an illness because of my union representation. I know others don't have that luxury and that makes me sad.

I would suggest for persons who are getting denied disability or long term insurance or are getting harrangued by managers that you go to speak with an employment attorney. Celiac disease is a true disease that is, in my understanding, covered under the ADA and Family Medical Leave Act. The FMLA allows a person up to 12 weeks per year leave, generally above and beyond any sick leave you may have (it's generally unpaid leave, but it's still twelve weeks). In my experience, employers bank on the notion that their employees don't know their rights and are so desperate to keep their jobs that they will tolerate anything. However, a good employment attorney should be able to speak to you about your options and these federal acts that are designed to protect people from just such employer problems. It may seem extreme and expensive to go speak to an attorney, but for the amount of suffering and stress you are already enduring because of this condition, it may be worth the money to get a little peace of mind about what your rights are. AND, it may be worth the financial and emotional recourse to "teach" your unsympathetic and inappropriate employer via legal action just how serious celiac disease is.