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Author Topic: How does allergy differ from intolerance?  (Read 1540 times)

Dorothea Zeffertt

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How does allergy differ from intolerance?
« on: 25/10/2011 05:30:02 »
Dorothea Zeffertt  asked the Naked Scientists:
   
1.  I would like an explanation of the difference between the following:

Allergy
Intolerance
Poisoning

2.  How can I be tested for chemical or other intolerances?

Thank you

Dorothea Zeffertt

What do you think?
« Last Edit: 25/10/2011 05:30:02 by _system »


 

Offline Don_1

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How does allergy differ from intolerance?
« Reply #1 on: 25/10/2011 11:30:56 »
Lets get poison out of the way for starters.

A poison is a substance which, when ingested, will have a known reaction to any individual of any species, though there are some poisons to which certain specific species have developed a tolerance to. See this example.

An allergy is a reaction suffered by some to certain situations. Nut and seed oils and pollen are probably the best known of these, though there are many others, such as glutten, lactose and animal fur. Ingestion of or contact with the substance will cause a reaction which can be defined medically.

Intolerance is a different kettle of fish. In some cases, intolerance may not be physical at all, but a result of the mind set of the individual. This is my opinion, which some others share.

Personally, I do not think testing for intolerance is a good idea. If you get it in your head that you are intolerant to something, you will probably be convinced that that is the case and will avoid that whateveritis. When coming into contact with it, you may well display a reaction, but the reaction may be only one produced by your conviction of your intolerance and not a real physical reaction.

But certainly there are some who have intolerance's. My wife enjoys just about any seafood, but she is intolerant to cockles. These will make her physically sick, but have no lasting effect.

I should point out that I am not a doctor.
 

Offline cheryl j

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How does allergy differ from intolerance?
« Reply #2 on: 29/10/2011 02:05:54 »
An allergy is a reaction involving the immune system. There are different types of immune responses but they usually involve the activation of white blood cells and the formation of antibodies against the chemical that is being recognized as foreign. Allergic reactions range in severity. It may just result in a runny nose, watery eyes, or local inflammation (like hay fever) or severe enough to cause anaphylactic shock and death(like peanut allergy.)

Intolerences usually dont involve the immune system. The person may simply be lacking an enzyme that breaks down a substance and it isnt properly digested (like lactose intolerance)causing bloating, cramps, diarhrea.

Poisons are chemicals that interfere with some normal chemical reaction in the body and the fuction of an organ. Some poisons block nerve transmissions or affect whether a muscle is able to contract or relax.  If muscles and nerves dont function properly, it can affect the ability to move, to maintain heart rate, to breathe, or stay conscious.Some toxins interfere with things like the clotting of blood. Carbon monoxide binds with hemoglobin in red blood cells and prevents oxygen from binding to them and cells and tissues need oxygen to stay alive. Toxins also range in the severity of their effects. Alcohol is a toxin, but if the amount ingested isnt to great, our liver just breaks it down and gets rid of it. The toxin made by the bacteria that causes tetnus or botulism, however, will kill you rather quickly and in small doses.
« Last Edit: 29/10/2011 02:20:48 by cheryl j »
 

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How does allergy differ from intolerance?
« Reply #2 on: 29/10/2011 02:05:54 »

 

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