Chocolate Allergy Symptoms
Chocolate allergies may cause asthma symptoms in susceptible people especially when a person is allergic to more than one ingredient in the chocolate. Some of the common ingredients include cocoa, milk, caffeine, gluten, soy lecithin, phenyl-ethylamine, nuts, theo-bromine, and dyes. Chocolate allergy symptoms may include anxiety, confusion, headaches, hives, irritability, nausea, eczema, itching, watery eyes, runny nose, sneezing, wheezing, coughing, heartburn, difficulty breathing due to inflammation of the airway, and anaphylaxis or shock. A diagnosis can be done through a skin test or a blood test that reveals antibodies in the blood stream. Treatments that can help with the symptoms include antihistamines, bronchodilators, corticosteroids, and epinephrine. The treatment largely depends upon the severity of the symptoms or reaction to the allergen. Of course, avoidance will help to prevent the reaction and discomfort.
Antihistamines can help to relieve the itching, digestive distress, watery eyes, sneezing, and the irritability. They can be obtained through a prescription or can be purchased over-the-counter at a drug store. The prescription antihistamines are less likely to cause drowsiness. People who experience asthma symptoms with chocolate allergies will probably need to use bronchodilators and corticosteroids to help with shortness of breath, wheezing, coughing, and inflammation. Epinephrine can be kept at home in an auto-injector so that it can be administered as soon as a person has a reaction. This can be used for any type of allergy and should be used as soon as possible to prevent anaphylaxis or shock.
Allergies seem to run in families and children who have both parents with symptoms seem to be at increased risk of developing them. Some sources believe that one of the main underlying reasons that lead to the development of symptoms have to do with a depressed or weak immune system. Other possible links may include chemicals and preservatives found in most processed foods. The most common foods that cause problems in susceptible individuals are wheat, dairy, shellfish, eggs, and peanuts. Chocolate allergy symptoms are similar to the reaction caused by other food sensitivities. Some of the worse reactions have been linked to peanuts and shellfish. Other possible food allergens may be found in products that contain proteins and yeast or molds. Some of these are soybeans, pickles, avocado, tomato, coffee, beans, cheese, wine, and beer.
People who have food sensitivities should make it a practice to read all product labels. Another good idea is to keep a food diary and record any time there is a reaction. This can help to narrow down the foods that a person is allergic or sensitive to so that he or she can avoid them in the future. For someone who is extremely sensitive doctors often recommend eliminated any foods that are possible culprits and then adding them back into the diet very slowly to find out which ones are offending foods. Someone with chocolate allergies will want to watch out for anything that has any of the ingredients found in chocolate such as cocoa and milk. "And Jesus said unto them, I am the bread of life: he that cometh to Me shall never hunger; and he that believeth on Me shall never thirst"(John 6:35).
To diagnose a suspected allergen there are a few different things that can help to do this. Skin tests can be done with the suspected substance to see if there is a reaction to the skin. A reaction that indicates positive would be the showing of redness, inflammation, and irritation. A doctor may choose to use blood tests to measure the amount of the antibodies in the blood stream to the suspected substance. Someone with chocolate allergy symptoms who is also suffering with asthma may need a pulmonary function test. This test measures the amount of airflow through a device called a spirometer. After airflow is measured then the patient is given a bronchodilator and airflow is measured again. With the bronchodilator the patient should have improved airflow; if this happens then the test will show positive for asthma. Doctors also use a skin patch test; the patch is soaked with the allergen and then taped to the person's skin for up to two days. If a rash develops then the test will be positive.
Food allergies in individuals involve a response by a person's immune system that is usually caused by a protein. When the body perceives a foreign invader then it produces antibodies to defend against that invader. These antibodies attach to the cells and contain chemicals called histamines and leukotrienes. So if the body sees cocoa or some other additive in chocolate as an invader then the chemicals are released and the person starts experiencing chocolate allergy symptoms. This reaction should not be taken lightly because it can lead to shock. Some of the beginning signs that this could be happening are itching in the roof of the mouth, swelling of the eyes, hives, shortness of breath, increased heart rate, and swelling of the throat.
There are additives in chocolate that may be the reason for the sensitivity. Much of what is purchased in stores contains milk, nuts, wheat or gluten, soy, and corn. These may be listed on the ingredient list as casein, whey, gluten, soy lecithin, and corn syrup. So individuals who think they have chocolate allergies may really have sensitivities to one or more of the ingredients. A person who has sensitivities to ingredients may not have any symptoms unless a large amount is consumed. For a proper diagnosis and the latest treatment a person should see a physician for an examination and inform the doctor about any symptoms that he or she is experiencing.