What Causes Allergies?

The first thing we need to understand is what an allergy is.  An allergy is a reaction to something outside the body that the body itself feels is a threat to it.  More specifically, this is the immune system.

The truth of the matter is, everybody has allergies in as much as the body is always going to view outside agents such as pollen, grass, weeds, and even foods as invaders.  The difference between someone who “suffers” from allergies and someone who doesn’t is the degree to which the body reacts or in the case of sufferers, overreacts to the allergen.

For example, let’s take hay fever season where the pollen count is especially high and have two people walk out into the street.  The person who has a normal immune system and doesn’t overreact to every outside allergen will probably not even notice that the pollen count is high.  There will be no itching, sneezing, watering of the eyes or any symptoms whatsoever.  The person who has an overactive immune system, at least to this particular type of allergen, will begin to sneeze.  Maybe the eyes will start to water.  In severe cases the person may even have trouble breathing, all because their immune system is viewing the pollen as a great threat.

So the question is, why do some people have immune systems that behave normally and others have immune systems that overreact? Studies show that in most cases this is because these people are genetically disposed to reacting in such a manner.  Maybe they inherited this particular predisposition from their mother or father.  Maybe it even skipped a generation, but in most cases this is simply inherited.

In other cases, allergies are not inherited.  In these cases the person’s immune system does not work correctly or is weakened because of some other condition.  Maybe they are a poor eater and thus aren’t getting the nutrition they need to stay healthy.  This can weaken the immune system and cause it to behave erratically.  In other cases the weakened immune system is caused by another underlying problem such as an inability of the body to absorb a certain protein or amino acid.

In either case, the immune system becomes what we call “hyperactive”.  This results in the immune system identifying quite harmless substances as enemies and then reacts totally out of proportion to the threat itself.  In some cases the reaction can be severe enough to cause some serious health problems.  Yes, people can die from allergies so this is not something to be taken lightly.

Many people believe that if there is a genetic disposition to allergies then there is nothing that can do to solve the problem.  This is actually not so.  There are many things a person can naturally do to build up their immune system so that allergies are no longer a problem.

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