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Allergy Testing

Allergy testing, in particular food allergy testing, is a focus area for the doctors at Millennium Health Centre. Patients attend the Millennium Health Centre with symptoms of, or previous diagnoses of, Irritable Bowel Syndrome, Crohn's disease, Celiac disease, general intestinal distress (heartburn, constipation, diarrhea, gas, bloating etc.), headaches, skin conditions, recurrent ear infections, recurrent sinus infections, sore throats, Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder, fatigue and much more. In many of these cases the doctors at Millennium Health Centre are able to identify underlying food allergies and completely rectify the patient's symptoms by removing the offending food.

Now, this may sound 'too good to be true', but the fact is that food allergies have been found through numerous medical studies to be underlying causes, or aggravations, to the types of conditions listed above. This is not 'alternative' medicine, but rather basic medicine or 'immunology'. The problem is that food allergies are rarely even considered a possibility by the conventional medical system or by many of its medical doctors or allergists. Instead, allergy testing focuses almost entirely on animal dander (cats and dogs), dust, grasses, weeds, trees etc. When it does look at foods, a very minimal review is conducted, looking only at 5 or 6 foods.

One reason for this is that conventional medicine still focuses solely upon what are called 'Type 1' allergies. 'Type 1' allergies are allergies which produce symptoms within seconds to minutes after being exposed to an allergen. The most severe type of 'Type 1' allergies produce the anaphylactic reactions in which society has become familiar. Within seconds of eating a peanut (for example) a severe reaction occurs causing an inability to breath, significant swelling etc.

These 'Type 1' reactions are controlled by immune cells called 'immunoglobulin E' (or 'IgE'). To test for these IgE allergies, doctors use a procedure called 'skin prick' in which they inject many possible allergens under a patient's skin and wait to see what causes a local swelling. This type of testing is quite dated, having existed for decades. It is very accurate, but only for 'Type 1' allergies and only for the possible allergens the doctor chooses to inject under the skin.

The 'problem' is that the human immune system has four entirely different allergy immune responses. 'Type 1' allergies, while deadly in the cases of anaphylactic reactions, are only one of four types of allergy reactions. As such, testing for Type 1 allergies has inherent limitations. These limitations are worsened by the fact that many possible allergens (especially foods) are simply not even checked.

Very often, the cause of a patient's symptoms (as listed above) are food allergies that are not 'Type 1' allergies and which can not be found with standard 'skin prick' testing. These allergies are often 'Type 3' allergies, controlled by an entirely different immune cell called 'immunoglobulin G' (or 'IgG'). These allergies do not produce symptoms right away. Instead, they produce symptoms hours to days after exposure. As such, the patient has a hard time realizing or detecting that a food is triggering his/her symptom. 'Skin prick' testing will simply not detect these allergies. The patient has chronic symptoms but can't 'put a finger on' what is causing the symptoms.

So, with some background in immunology and allergies, some readers may see the importance of detecting if foods or inhalants are the actual cause of a particular symptom. Failure to detect these would mean a patient has to continually take a medication to treat the symptom of the allergy, rather than treating the allergy itself.

In the case of food allergies, patients have only two choices to see if food allergies exist. They can either do an 'elimination diet' under the supervision of a trained doctor in the field, such as those at the Millennium Health Centre, or they can use more modern laboratory testing. The testing is described under the 'Functional Medicine and Diagnostic Testing' section of the 'Services' page. The testing is also well described by the laboratory which performs the analysis. Visit the laboratory at www.usbiotek.com and click on the test entitled 'Serum IgG and IgE Antibody Panels for Foods, Indoor/Outdoor Inhalents, Spices and Herbs.

The doctors at the Millennium Health Centre are trained to know which option is the best for the individual patient's condition.

Those interested should note that this IS NOT 'vega', or 'electrodermal' testing (claimed to be 'allergy testing' whereby a person holds a magnet in one hand and a vial of a food in the other as a means to 'test' for allergies). The testing described herein is legitimate medical testing conducted by accredited medical laboratories. Blood samples are drawn by the Millennium Health Centre's nursing staff and forwarded to the laboratory.

Allergy testing exists for over 96 'basic' foods with herb, spice and vegetarian 'add-on' testing. Likewise, regionally specific inhalant allergy tests exist to look at grasses, molds etc., but to do so on a more expansive scale than is usually conducted.

By using 'elimination diets', food allergy and/or inhalant allergy testing, the Millennium Health Centre is often able to diagnosis the actual cause of a patient's symptoms without merely prescribing a medication to alleviate symptoms.

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