New research published January 4 in JAMA Network Open points to the possibility that 19% of American adults wrongly assume that they suffer from food allergies.
“Adults think they are allergic to food, while their symptoms may indicate a food intolerance or other food-related condition,” explained Ruchi Gupta, doctor of medicine at Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago, Professor of Pediatrics at northwestern University and one of the authors of the study.
In fact, according to the data, only 10% of adults living in the US, do have food allergies. While 19% may be wrong in their assumptions because their symptoms do not correspond to the manifestations of true food Allergy.
The researchers interviewed more than 40,000 adults in the U.S. and found that only half of the people who believe that they have allergies, we went to the doctor.
Food allergies, of course, is a serious problem, as FARE reports that 200,000 Americans end up in emergency departments every year because of Allergy attack. Mortality due to food allergies are rare, but without proper treatment, a severe reaction can kill.
Gupta says that it is also critically important for patients at risk know about how to recognize the symptoms of anaphylaxis and what to do in this case.
Alarming is the fact that according to the study, only a quarter of people with true allergies have a current prescription for epinephrine, which can save their lives if necessary.
Theoretically, any food can trigger an Allergy attack, but for adult Americans, the most dangerous were the clams.
The study showed that 7.2 million adult Americans suffer from allergies to shellfish. While milk is an allergen only to 4.7 million, and peanuts for 4.5 million
The study also showed that half of adults who have had allergies to one or more foods, in adulthood has been added at least one allergen. And often the reaction occurs in a product that people ate regularly, and who was absolutely harmless.
These figures refute the widespread belief that the majority of allergies developing in childhood.
“We were surprised to find that food Allergy in adults as common. More research is needed to understand why this is happening and how we can prevent this,” added Gupta.