It seems like you hear more about allergies and food sensitivity by the day. The daily deluge in the news about things like gluten and pollen is confusing, making it difficult to determine if allergies really are on the rise or if we’ve just learned more about identifying health problems.
Although the answer may be a little of both, centers for allergy testing in Miami have discovered a definite increase in the number and severity of allergy cases in the past few decades. There many theories as to why, and here are the top four.
Maybe it’s no coincidence that an increase in allergies and antibiotic resistance has been accompanied by a rise in the use of antibacterial products like soaps and hand sanitizer. The Hygiene Theory operates on the premise that we’ve sanitized ourselves out of an effective immune system, which is our body’s main line of defense against illness. There may be some logic to this theory.
Your body develops immunity to bacteria and other foreign bodies through exposure. Some bacteria is also essential for important bodily functions like digestion. Killing these microbes indiscriminately lowers our resistance when we are exposed to them, making it difficult for our immune system to develop and maintain active defenses.
Good hygiene is important for health, but the craze to over-sanitize ourselves, our children, and every surface we touch has left us vulnerable to agents that were relatively harmless in the past. This lowered resistance, when combined with other allergy-increasing factors, exacerbates the overall problem.
Some scientists theorize that steady global warming – and its unintended consequences – have unleashed allergens and bacteria that have long remained dormant under polar ice caps. Warmer temperatures, especially in Northern climates, have resulted in longer allergy seasons and higher levels of pollen in the air. This means that even those who weren’t previously exposed are developing allergies, and those with allergies are experiencing an increase in the duration and severity of their symptoms.
Between industrialization and the proliferation of toxic chemicals in our air, water, and food supply, there’s no denying that pollution and environmental factors play a big part in the increase of health problems. Add the heightened stress levels that more people are experiencing in the modern world, and you can find yourself in a biological state where your system is constantly under attack from the inside and out. Since increased stress lowers your immunity even further, the result is more exposure to allergens with less of an ability to fight them off.
There are two schools of thought on the age factor. One theory suggests that as we age, our bodies naturally just kind of wear out, causing a decrease in strength and stamina. The other idea is that prolonged exposure to allergens increases our risk, causing us to develop new allergies to previously harmless substances.
Lifestyle can play a part in both of these theories. Lack of rest and a high-stress lifestyle decrease your immunity. If you eat a steady diet of foods that are loaded with chemicals and preservatives, you’re aging faster and increasing your overall risk of health problems.
These four theories may even intersect, creating a toxic atmosphere where allergies flourish. Whether your allergies really are worsening or you’ve developed new ones, it’s important to locate a facility that does comprehensive allergy testing in Miami. Once you’ve learned what triggers your symptoms, you and your allergist can devise a course of treatment for those times you can’t avoid the source of your problems.