Difference between allergy and intolerance

In addition to poisoning, allergy and intolerance are two of the most common adverse reactions that someone can suffer from. Adverse response refers to abnormal responses related to the ingestion of a food or exposure to a certain substance. These adverse responses are so diverse that they cause widespread confusion between allergy, intoxication and intolerance.

Comparison table

What is it? It is a fairly common non-toxic immune reaction. 

This reaction of the immune system occurs when facing a substance or consuming a food that triggers it. These substances are called allergens. Allergens can be considered harmless and do not usually cause major problems for most people. However, in those with hypersensitive immune responses, they cause allergies.

On the other hand, food intolerance is an adverse food reaction that does not involve hypersensitivity on the part of the immune system. That is, an intolerance is not a reaction of the immune system. An intolerance is a reaction caused by enzyme deficiencies, which prevent people from properly metabolizing certain food groups.
Who suffers from it? Allergies can be suffered by anyone as long as there is prior sensitization. Many allergies are hereditary, that is, if one of the parents has allergies, it is likely that the children will too. Similar to intoxication, an intolerance is more related to the individual than to the substance itself. Any individual whose system does not have the capacity to digest, metabolize or assimilate any kind of food, suffers from intolerances.
reactions There are several symptoms, but the most common are: 

  • Nasal congestion, itchy nose and throat, excess nasal mucus, cough.
  • Watery, red, swollen eyes with itchy eyes.
  • Swelling of the tongue, larynx and airways, nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, colic and other more serious reactions that must be treated immediately, as they can put the patient’s life at risk.
  • Skin rashes, itching, hives, redness, swelling, and blisters.

Regardless of whether the allergy is skin, food, respiratory, etc., it can trigger a reaction that involves the whole body, so it is recommended to take precautions and pay attention.

As for food intolerances, the most common include: 

  • abdominal distention
  • Gas, constipation, diarrhea, nausea, reflux
  • irritable bowel syndrome
  • Acne, psoriasis, eczema, hives, itching and rashes.
  • Migraine, dizziness, fatigue, vertigo, etc.
  • Overweight and obesity.
  • Asthma, sinusitis, rhinitis, shortness of breath.
  • Anxiety, fatigue, depression, hyperactivity, insomnia, etc.

In case of suspecting the suffering of an intolerance, it is advisable to carry out a food intolerance test. Once the intolerance has been identified and the cause of the diet has been eliminated, the patient’s quality of life will improve significantly.

Causes and examples Among the most common allergens are some medications, dust, some foods (eggs, shellfish, nuts and some fruits such as kiwi, and others), mold, pollen and dander from some animals, among others. On the other hand, the most common intolerance is caused by lactose. In this case, the individual has a partial or complete deficiency of the enzyme lactase, so they are unable to metabolize lactose. Gluten and fructose intolerances are also common.

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