Allergic Conditions

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Allergic Rhinitis

Allergic Rhinitis is the medical term for allergy affecting the mucous membrane of the nose.  Seasonal allergic rhinitis is often called hay fever, while year-round nasal allergy is called perennial allergic rhinitis.  People with allergic rhinitis often think they have “sinus trouble.”  Most people develop allergic rhinitis before age 30.

Nonallergic Rhinitis

Nonallergic Rhinitis is a condition that goes by other names as well.  Some physicians call it vasomotor rhinitis.  This is a condition of unknown cause.  It is often confused with allergy because it produces similar symptoms.  Many patients refer to the symptoms caused by chronic nonallergic rhinitis as “sinus” or “sinus trouble.”   However, in most instances, the sinuses are really not involved.  The problem is one of the tissues in the nose rather than those in the sinuses.

Sinusitis

Sinusitis is the term for sinus infection.  Acute sinus infection can cause facial pain and colored discharge from the nose.  Chronic sinus infection is more subtle and could present as cough or asthma.  Often, sinusitis can only be diagnosed by X-ray.

Asthma

Asthma is a condition of the airways definied in three ways:

  1. Inflammation- The lungs are “on fire inside”.  Chronic asthma is like arthritis of the lungs.  Many cells of inflammation (not infection) flood the lung tissue and the surface of the airways.
  2. Bronchial constriction-The airways narrow as smooth muscle contracts around the airways.
  3. Hyper-reactivity-The surface of the airways is very sensitive and over reavtive to many different triggers.

Immunologoic Problems

Some people prone to recurrent infections or certain blood disorders can have problems with their immune or defense system other than allergy.  We have the capability to test the different branches of the immune system.

Urticaria

Urticaria is otherwise known as hives.  This problem results from a swelling of the blood vessels in your skin and immediately beneath the skin.  This is accompanied by a leakage of the fluid from the blood vessels.  The fluid produces the swelling.  Both the dilation and the leakage are due to chemicals which are released into the skin.  Many cases of urticaria last briefly and do not recur.  Chronic urticaria can wax and wane for long periods of time.  In many people chronic urticaria is caused by an immunologic reaction in the skin.  Antihistamines are used to control hives until they run their course.

Atopic dermatitis

Atopic dermatitis (AD) is a disorder that involves itching, rashes, scaling and redness of the skin.  Allergic eczema, allergic dermatitis, and atopic eczema are other names for AD.  The exact cause of AD is unknow, but often triggers of AD can be identified.  Most AD is associated with allergies.  Approximately 35% to 40% of children with AD have associated food allergy as a contributing factor.  One percent of all people and up to 5% of children are affected by AD.  AD can be a chronic and relapsing problem.  However, with proper diagnosis and management most AD can be controlled.