If you can’t munch on nuts because you’re allergic to it, don’t be sad. You’re definitely not the only one dealing with the issue.
On a wider scale, the number of people who develop an allergy is on the rise and there’s a lot of studies to back the claim up.
As much as that fact is comforting for some, it’s quite alarming to know that that there’s an increase in the number of those affected.
What Is an Allergy?
Before we delve deeper, let’s first understand what an allergy is – this happens when your immune system targets and attacks substances that are generally harmless, otherwise known as allergens.
This shouldn’t be the case since your body should be fighting bacteria and viruses, so, this is clearly an overreaction to a certain food deemed as a danger, University of Southampton professor Graham Roberts explained.
For example, peanuts. Technically, these are a healthy source of protein that are safe to eat, but according to a study, 1.76 percent of the entire UK population is allergic to tree nuts. What happens?
The expert explained that once the cells of the immune system got a hint of the peanut protein, these release inflammatory mediators. One of which is histamine, which may lead to symptoms linked to sneezing, rash, itchy eyes, and runny nose.
If you’ve seen far worse attacks in some cases, it is because of the large amounts of the released mediators. This can result in a constricted airway, which causes the person to find it hard to breathe.
Add to this the dilated blood vessels, it would be impossible for oxygen to reach organs. This is how allergies can be fatal.
Rise on Allergies
Sad to say, there’s a rise in food allergies, which, time and time again, have been proven by throngs of studies. Between 1992 to 2012, there’s a 615-percent increase in the admissions of anaphylaxis cases in UK hospitals.
As per Allergy UK, there’s a rate of 44 percent of allergy among adults in the country, with less than half medically diagnosed. Meanwhile, 7.1 percent of infants who are breastfed have food allergies.
How did this rise come about? There’s a lot of theories that surround this: one of which suggests that the introduction of allergens into the breast milk can aid in the development of tolerance, but the professor believes it still lacks evidence to support the claim.
Another one is called the hygiene hypothesis, which states that our immune system has evolved into how we live. In the past century, we disinfected everything, and so the body doesn’t deal with the same things our ancestors’ immune system used to fight.
Who Can Develop an Allergy?
Genetics play a large part in the development of an allergy. Studies say heredity accounts for 80 percent of the risk, while the expert explained that environmental factors also have a hand.
For example, a child has a seven-fold chance of being allergic to peanuts if the parents or siblings have the condition. Kids who also suffer from eczema are also more vulnerable.