It’s not just your imagination. Allergies really are on the rise.
A staggering one in five Americans suffer from allergies, a figure that includes food allergies as well as environmental allergies. Asthma, often associated with allergies, has also experienced a steep increase in recent years. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the number of Americans with asthma grew by 28 percent between 2001 and 2011.
That’s a lot of wheezing. And sniffing. And scratching. Not to mention the truly severe allergic reactions, such as anaphylactic shock, which can lead to death.
What is an allergy? Allergic responses are actually the natural responses of a healthy immune system – except instead of responding to harmful bacteria, the immune system is responding to chemicals that are usually harmless. Allergies are, in essence, the product of a confused immune system.
What’s causing the confusion?
Given the rising tide of allergies, it’s no wonder that several recent studies have been devoted to determining this. Though none is universally agreed upon, here are a few of the prevalent theories that have arisen about the cause of recent allergy increases.
Theory #1: The Hygiene Hypothesis
This is the theory that our era’s obsession with germ-free sanitation has led to the opposite effect we desired. Basically, the Hygiene Hypothesis posits that growing up in the age of hand sanitizers and bacteria-destroying cleaning products has contributed to rising allergies.
These conclusions are drawn from the fact that populations in which families are large, antibiotic usage low, and sanitation poor experience fewer allergies than populations with small families, high antibiotic usage, and good sanitation. These findings seem to suggest that by not exposing ourselves to the world’s grime and grit, we’re not allowing our bodies to learn how to properly respond to them.
Maybe letting the kids roll around in the mud isn’t such a bad idea.
Theory #2: Increased Medication Use
Today, we use medications to treat far more conditions than we used to. One theory about growing allergy rates is that they’re tied to our increasing use of drug treatments.
The hypothesis is not that allergies to medications are really increasing, merely that we’re taking more medications and experiencing more of their unpleasant side effects – which aren’t actually allergies. These responses, such as headaches and dizziness, are caused by the drugs. They’re just not the immune responses for which they are often mistaken.
Theory #3: Delayed Introduction of Foods
It was relatively recently that the notion that infants should not be allowed certain foods, like peanuts, became widespread. Several medical authorities theorize that by withholding these foods from infants, we may be contributing to allergy development.
Of course, this hypothesis is inconclusive, but the tie between infant food restrictions and allergies is certainly under investigation. Evidence in favor of the connection lies in the fact that cultures that introduce the peanut earlier have fewer cases of severe peanut allergies, though this could be the result of other factors.
Allergy Testing and Treatments
If you or a loved one are part of the growing population suffering from allergies, be sure to explore the many possible treatments. Here at Lyceum Physical Medicine, we offer allergy testing, sublingual immunotherapy treatment, allergy shots, needle-free treatments, and more.
You pay attention to the food pyramid. You squeeze in a workout each day. You manage to schedule a physical every December. Basically, you do a fairly decent job of taking care of yourself.
Yet statistically, there’s still a chance you’re suffering from a vitamin deficiency that’s hindering your daily functioning and leaving you vulnerable to a plethora of health problems. Specific groups well-known for being at risk include vegetarians, pregnant and breastfeeding women, the elderly, and low-income earners.
Here are a few other, lesser-known groups who may be sinking into vitamin debt unawares.
Life is a little bit cruel, isn’t it? You take up jogging to improve your health, not damage it, so it’s especially ironic that physical activity places you at risk of a vitamin deficiency.
But vigorous exorcise does, indeed, sap the body of the essential micronutrients otherwise known as electrolytes. After all, that’s how the concept of “sports drinks” came into being.
The important thing to remember here is not that you should stop exercising, but that you should be sure to put back what you take out. Vitamins A, C, E, CoQ10 and alpha lipoic are the big ones to think about.
The thing about cutting down on food is you may unknowingly be cutting down on essential vitamins and nutrients, too. This is especially true of those following trendy diet fads with words like “beach” in the title. Recent studies have shown that popular low-carb and low-fat diets are associated with deficiencies in thiamine, folic acid, vitamins C and E, iron, magnesium, zinc, and more.
Long story short? Just because it gets you into smaller pants doesn’t mean it’s optimizing your health. Be wary of big-name diets creating carb-starved, vitamin-deprived legions.
And by that, we mean the stressed out among us. Everyone experiences anxiety to some degree, but stress on a major scale robs the body of resources, particularly water-soluble micronutrients like the B vitamins, vitamin C, and most minerals.
Those Experiencing These Weird Symptoms
The vitamin-deprived body is a little like a sinking ship, shooting up flares to show that something is wrong. The following is a list of strange things the body does to alert you of a vitamin or nutrient deficiency, with the cause of these symptoms in parentheses.
- Cracks in the corners of your mouth (iron, zinc, B3, B2, and B12 deficiencies)
- A scaly rash on your face (B7 deficiency)
- Muscle cramps in the toes, feet arches, backs of legs, and calves (magnesium, calcium, and potassium deficiencies)
- Red or white bumps on the cheeks, arms, and thighs (vitamins A and D and essential fatty acids)
If you fall into one of these categories, be sure to stop by Lyceum Physical Medicine for our superior nutrition services. Our team of medical practitioners will not only test you for vitamin deficiencies, but help you plan an incredible diet that will supercharge your system. Schedule an appointment today!
The above title came from the March 11, 2002 issue of the American Medical News. This story reports on several studies and programs where corporate wellness programs are having a positive effect on reducing health care costs on their employees. “There’s a growing body of data indicating that corporate wellness programs lower medical costs for employees”, said Ron Z. Goetzel, PhD, vice president of consulting and applied research for the Medstat Group, a health care research firm in Ann Arbor, Mich.
A survey done by Medstat, published in the January 2002 issue of the Journal of Occupational Medicine, concluded that medical claims costs for Johnson & Johnson Inc. employees dropped an average of $225 per year after the company started its wellness program in 1995. Additionally, Goetzel reported that a literature review of corporate wellness studies published in the May/June 2001 issue of the American Journal of Health Promotion concluded that medical costs dropped for employees in the wellness program for 28 out of 32 of the corporate wellness programs reviewed.
What is Trigger Point Therapy?
Trigger point therapy is a bodywork technique that involves the applying of pressure to tender muscle tissue in order to relieve pain and dysfunction in other parts of the body. Sometimes massage and trigger point therapy are performed together.
Trigger point therapy is also called myofascial trigger point therapy. It was developed by Dr. Janet Travel in the United States in the 1940s.
What are Trigger Points?
Trigger points are areas of tenderness in a muscle. There are two basic types of trigger points: active and latent.
Active trigger points cause muscular pain and will refer pain and tenderness to another area of the body when pressure is applied. Latent trigger points only exhibit pain when compressed, they do not refer pain to other areas of the body. Latent trigger points are believed to be one of the causes of stiff joints and restricted range of motion of old age.
Trigger points may be associated with myofascial pain syndromes or fibromyalgia. Trigger points are very common. They are also referred to as muscle knots.
Trigger points differ from acupressure points. Acupressure points are concentrations of energy or blockages of the body’s energy pathways. Trigger points are physical phenomena that can be felt by touch.
The pain caused by trigger points may be the biggest cause of disability and loss of time in the workplace.
What Causes Trigger Points?
Trigger points have several causes. Some common causes of trigger points are: birth trauma, an injury sustained in a fall or accident, poor posture, or overexertion.
What is the Purpose of Trigger Point Therapy?
The purpose of trigger point therapy is to eliminate pain and to re-educate the muscles into pain-free habits. After several treatments, the swelling and stiffness of neuromuscular pain is reduced, range of motion is increased, tension is relieved, and circulation, flexibility and coordination are improved.
Anyone who has back or neck pain caused in whole or part by a damaged disc maybe helped by Disc Eased Therapy. Click the link below to read more about this as well as other health issues that can be easily corrected.