CLINICAL MANIFESTATION OF ALLERGY
Allergy mainly affects 4 systems i.e. Skin, Respiratory System, Gastrointestinal system and Musculoskeletal System. The various manifestations of these inflammatory reactions for each system are represented below:
Most of the symptoms of allergy are elicited in the form of inflammation and itch. Inflammation, denoted by suffix 'itis'. e.g. in Arthritis, Spondylitis, Tonsillitis, Pharyngitis, Rhinitis, Gastritis etc. is manifested as pain, swelling, redness, rise in temperature and loss of function of the affected organ.
The most common manifestations of the Allergic Disorders are:
INFLAMMATION - We call it in medical term- "ITIS" e.g. Allergic rhinitis, arthritis, colitis etc.
ITCH & DRYNESS - Itching anywhere in the body e.g. dandruff, eczema, pruritus vulvae etc.
Why does a person develop allergy?
Normally, a person’s immune system clearly distinguishes between harmful and harmless foreign bodies and it reacts only to harmful bodies like various pathogenic bacteria and virus. When immune system fails to recognize harmless bodies as ”harmless” it reacts to them and produces various symptoms in the form of allergic manifestations.
Mechanism Of Allergic Response
When an allergen enters our body, the IgE and the allergen forms a complex. This complex then binds to the mast cell. As a result the mast cell bursts and releases histamine. This histamine produces allergic symptoms such as redness, swelling, heat, itching etc.
Types Of Allergy
Exogenic allergy is caused by various external allergens like industrial wastes, chemicals, insecticides, pesticides etc. Eventually, all allergens seem to cause gradual changes in the genetic make up and subsequently the allergy becomes Endogenic. The body tissues get ’sensitized’ to various allergens and this leads to hypersensitivity reactions. These ’sensitized’ response characteristics are passed on to the succeeding generations. The fundamental cause of all allergies, therefore, is endogenic and in most cases it runs in the family tree of the patient. Often allergy remains dormant in the patient’s body system until a situation arises when the patient’s immune system is at low guard and his resistance is highly compromised. ’Physical stress states’ such as surgery, infections, serious diseases, pregnancy, old age etc. are some of the conditions because of which body gets predisposed to attacks by allergens.
Some of the commonest allergic diseases alternate in a patient’s life. A patient suffering from eczema in childhood may suffer from Bronchial Asthma in adulthood. Usually there would be a history of Hay fever, Urticaria, Eczema, Asthma, Arthritis etc. in the family.