What Is the Difference between an Allergy, a Sensitivity, and an Intolerance?

Nearly 60 million people in the US suffer from allergy symptoms. More shocking, this number is steadily increasing with each year. But how do you know when you are allergic to something? For most of us, we can deduce through trial and error if we are allergic to something. For instance, if you break out into hives every time you eat peanut butter, odds are, you are allergic to that substance. Though some people find learning about their allergies is relatively easy, for others it is not so simple.

ALCAT allergy tests are great ways to find out what exactly you are allergic to. By doing this, you will be able to know exactly what you are allergic to in order to prevent repeated breakouts or even life-threatening reactions.

What are the Benefits of ALCAT Blood Test?

The benefits of an ALCAT test can be very clear, especially if you have had an allergic reaction. For some people, reactions, sensitivity, and intolerance of something can be uncomfortable and even cause anxiety. By getting your blood tested, you will be able to see exactly what your body considers a “foreign body.” This knowledge of allergens can be especially helpful for mothers with young children. When your child is allergic to something, you won’t typically know until they have a reaction. To ensure that your child is safe from any bad allergic reactions, ALCAT tests can inform you before an emergency.

ALCAT tests are specifically used to determine what you are allergic to and will have a physical reaction to. Though ALCAT test can be used to determine your body’s allergens, it also can be a clue into what substances you are sensitive or intolerant of.

Some people don’t understand the differences between the three bodily reactions of allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances.

Why the Differences Matter

It is important to know the difference between allergies, sensitivities, and intolerances. Part of the reason that there are so many people with allergies in America, is partly because they don’t know how to define what is an allergy, and what isn’t.

What Is an Allergy?

If you have ever had an allergic reaction or seen someone else have one, you will know that it can be a scary experience. When an allergic reaction happens, your immune system’s antibodies start attacking your cells and release chemicals that cause symptoms in the nose, lungs, throat, sinuses, ears, on the skin, and in the lining of the stomach. What you are allergic to is called an allergen, which is typically something harmless like mold, dust, pollen, or even food substances. If your immune system is alerted of an allergen in your system, it will immediately go on the defensive and give you annoying, even painful symptoms. Everyone’s reaction to allergens can be different. For example, the severity of your immune system’s reaction to allergens can vary from a slight nuisance to deadly if not treated. More importantly, some reactions can increase or decrease over the course of your life.
It is important to learn the distinction of what makes an “allergy.” An allergy is an immune response to an allergen, or substance, in your body. Typically, this immune response will lead to severe internal and external bodily symptoms.

What Is a Sensitivity?

Sensitivity is a reaction and exaggeration of the effect of the substance itself, meaning that your body will have a reaction, but it is not an autoimmune response. Sensitivity to a substance does not create an immune response, yet still causes bodily symptoms. Sensitivities, much like allergies, have the potential to be life-threatening if a person has a strong enough reaction to the substance repeatedly. Again, however, the reaction of a sensitivity is not the same as an allergy, and generally displays less severe symptoms. For instance, if you have a sensitivity to a specific food substance, you may have a slight stomach ache every time you ingest that specific item. Sensitivity is more of your body’s inability to digest or react poorly to a specific substance, rather than exert an autoimmune response when it comes in contact with the item.

What Is an Intolerance?

An intolerance happens when you ingest a substance that your body cannot handle due to digestive system deficiencies. These deficiencies can be anything from a lack of specific enzymes to chemicals not present in your stomach. Without certain chemicals to break down food, certain digestible items can cause stomach pain and discomfort. Intolerance is different than sensitivity because it does not cause symptoms. An intolerance is generally only related to how your body is able to digest certain things. For example, lactose intolerance is very common in the US, as people don’t have the digestive strength to break down dairy substances.

Superior Healthcare

At Superior Healthcare, we offer ALCAT testing for our customers. If you believe that you or your child is allergic to a substance, getting tested is highly recommended. Allergies have the potential to be dangerous, so that last thing you want to do is ignore it. Symptoms of allergies have the potential to be life-threatening, especially for young children.

At Superior Healthcare, we have access to an ALCAT lab that can study a tube of your blood to determine what allergens your body will react to. Not can we determine what you are allergic to, but the severity of your body’s reaction to the substance. So, you will not only be able to tell what you are allergic to, but how severe your autoimmune response will be. For those who have severe, even deadly allergic reactions to substances, an ALCAT test could save your life. Be sure of your allergies and contact us today.