Food allergies can be quite life-disrupting and even life-threatening. If you have or think you have a food allergy, we can help you get back to normal, comfortable living. Our allergists and immunologists at Asthma & Allergy Associates, PC, are the leading food allergy doctors in Colorado Springs, CO.
According to the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, a food allergy is “an adverse health affect arising from a specific immune response that occurs reproducibly on exposure to a given food.”Our own immunologist, Dr. Soteres, explains it as “Your favorite thing about your immune system is that it protects you. But one of the most amazing things the immune system does is remember. Your body can remember infections like chicken pox so that you don’t get it again. Vaccines work by tapping into this ability as well. The immune system’s memory is mediated by Immunoglobulins. In the case of allergy, Immunoglobulin E (aka IgE) remembers a food protein and attacks it.”
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Food allergies affect approximately 5% of adults and 8% of children in the United States.
Food allergy is a serious medical condition affecting up to 15 million people in the United States, including 1 in 13 children. Being informed about food allergies, hidden triggers/sources, and treatment approaches is a key to living well with food allergies for our patients in Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Canyon City, and other southern Colorado communities.
Success diagnosing and treating Food Allergy requires a personalized approach. At The Food Allergy Center of Asthma & Allergy Associates, PC in Colorado Springs, you can have that. We have board-certified doctors, qualified nursing staff and a nutritionist to come up with the best plan for your food allergy treatment in Colorado Springs, Pueblo, Canyon City, and surrounding communities.
The Food Allergy Center
At Asthma & Allergy Associates, PC and Research Center we decided to create a Food Allergy Center (The FAC) due to rising demand for diagnosis and treatment of food allergies and other disorders from our patients in Colorado Springs and from across the state. We are board-certified in the field of allergy testing and immunology. In our specialty we draw a clear line between food allergies and food intolerance. Food allergies are mediated via a specific immunologic pathway and the reactions can be severe and life-threatening. Rapid and proper identification of food allergy triggers can reduce stress and save lives. Educating our patients, their families, and other care-givers (i.e. schools and daycares) in Colorado Springs about food intolerance testing, managing food allergies and treating allergic reactions is a business we take seriously and that we have done for many years.
It makes sense that the fastest growing source of referrals to a board–certified allergist/immunologist has changed in the past several decades. In the past, referrals were for evaluation and treatment of environmental allergies and asthma. We are still experts in these disease states. Now, the most common referrals to an allergy/immunology office are for testing and treatment of food allergy. With all this in mind we decided to dedicate time, energy and other resources towards the development of the Food Allergy Center in Colorado Springs. We have added a nutritionist/dietician to our staff to help manage a range of issues from weight-loss to multiple food elimination diets.
Most Common Food Allergens?
Any food is capable of causing an allergic reaction, but eight foods account for 90 percent of all food-allergic reactions in the United States. These foods are:
- Tree Nuts
The incidence of sesame seed allergy is rapidly increasing. However, at Asthma & Allergy Associates in Colorado Springs we have identified food allergies to many different triggers.
Remember any food is capable of causing an allergic reaction.
Symptoms of Food Allergies
In the U.S., food allergy symptoms send someone to the emergency room every three minutes.
An allergic reaction to food can affect the skin, the gastrointestinal tract, the respiratory tract, and, in the most serious cases, the cardiovascular system.
The Symptoms May Be:
- An itchy rash
- Swelling of the lips, tongue, or mouth
- As well as other symptoms
Food allergic reactions can be life threatening when a condition called anaphylaxis occurs. *If you believe you, or someone you know, is experiencing anaphylaxis administer epinephrine and call 911 immediately.
Food Allergy Diagnosis
Successful diagnosis and treatment requires a personalized approach. At The Food Allergy Center of Asthma & Allergy Associates, PC in Colorado Springs, you can have that. We have board-certified allergists, qualified nursing staff and a nutritionist to come up with the best plan for your food allergy testing.
Suspected food allergies should always be evaluated, diagnosed, and treated by a board-certified allergist. Ask your primary care provider for referral to a board-certified allergist.
“One of my favorite things to do at the office is to take away a food allergy diagnosis,” Dr. Soteres states. “In our practice we find many people who have diagnosed themselves or their children with a food allergy. Or, they limited their diets to something hard to live with. At our office our goal is to help people expand their diet safely.” We’ve even found some patients with the wrong diagnosis or perhaps they’ve outgrown the allergy who’ve been avoiding a food for years.
Food Allergy Testing
Many methods of food allergy testing are unproven and are considered controversial. See section on “Tests that are Not Recommended” below.
The first step in diagnosing food allergy is a thorough medical history. The allergist should ask questions to determine if a food allergy may be causing your symptoms and to identify the culprit food(s), and will then perform a physical exam. This is standard testing and diagnosis procedure at Asthma & Allergy Associates in Colorado Springs.
BUYER BEWARE: if your allergist does not take a thorough history during your testing then find another doctor.
Recommended Routine Tests
Several validated and scientifically proven tests are available to help identify a food allergy. The board-certified allergist will use the combination of history and test results to help find the safest dietary pathway. These tests have proven diagnostic value at our clinics in Pueblo, Colorado Springs, and Canyon City. They may include:
- Food Allery Skin Prick Test
- Food Allergy Blood Test for serum IgE for specific foods of concern
- Oral food allergy challenge
- Food Allergy Trial Elimination diet
Experimental tests: Component Related Diagnostics (CRDs) can identify one or more specific proteins of a food. The hope has been to identify these proteins and use the information to aid with prognosis and severity. However, results have been mixed and have not been shown to be better than the combination of history, skin test and standard IgE blood testing for food allergies.
Buyer Beware: your insurance company may not pay for CRDs!
Tests That Are NOT RECOMMENDED:
- Intradermal tests
- Total Serum IgE tests
- Food patch testing
- Basophil Histamine release
- Applied Kinesiology
- Allergen-specific IgG/IgG-4 measurement
- Electrodermal testing
- Cytotoxicity testing
- Hair analysis
- NAET (Natural Elimination of Allergy Treatment or Nambrumipads Elimination Allergy Treatment)
Buyer Beware: your insurance company may not pay for these tests!
Treatment of Food Allergies
Currently, the only way to prevent a food-allergic reaction is to avoid the problem food. Currently there are studies that show many kids with egg and cow’s milk allergy can eat foods with these baked inside. Those who continue to eat the baked products have a much better chance of outgrowing their food allergy.
Another treatment on the horizon is desensitization. “In our office we have performed many peanut desensitizations with good results.” This and other immunotherapy protocols for food allergies can be performed safely and improve quality of life for our patients in Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Canyon City. You will need to discuss immunotherapy with a board-certified allergist with experience in the procedures.
Develop A Food Allergy Action Plan
Dr. Soteres says, “In my training program, one of my mentors always said, ‘If they can tolerate it then keep eating it.’ She was talking about the frequent questions about food labeling that states may contain or “produced in a factory that contains …” It has now been observed and published that the majority of kids who are allergic to cow’s milk and egg can tolerate extensively heated forms of these allergens, such as in bakery goods, and that ingesting these products might speed recovery. A long term study showed that those kids who were able to tolerate baked milk products (muffins) in their diet were 16 times more likely to develop tolerance of regular milk versus those practicing standard of care avoidance measures. A similar study of children tolerating baked egg and consuming it regularly showed a 14.6 times more likely to develop tolerance to unheated egg. While these studies were not randomized and may be biased they suggest and immunotherapeutic response.
Successful immunotherapy requires a personalized approach. At The Food Allergy Center of Asthma & Allergy Associates, PC you receive personalized treatment like food allergy immunotherapy in Colorado Springs, Pueblo, and Canyon City. We have board-certified allergists, qualified nursing staff and a nutritionist to come up with the best plan for you.
Mountains of scientific research have reported on the ever-increasing waist line in the United States. The epidemic of obesity is indiscriminate effecting all races and genders, children and adults. Obesity has gained the attention of movie stars, professional athletes and first ladies as a target for sweeping education and reform to get people motivated in learning healthy habits and stomping it out. Obesity has been connected to poor outcomes and the root of many disease states including heart disease, diabetes, skin and joint problems, liver problems and asthma. Diagnosing and treating asthma has been a major focus of our office for many years and our research center continues to operate of the front lines developing and understanding new medications.
On the other hand, rising interest in food sensitivities that relate to a host of defined clinical syndromes like eosinophilic esophagitis, colitis, irritable bowel syndrome, celiac disease, and gluten sensitivity have raised the profile of our office to be included in the evaluation and treatment of these disorders. Non-celiac gluten-sensitivity has been connected to a host of non-specific symptoms. Gastrointestinal symptoms like abdominal pain, bloating and constipation/diarrhea are most common. Non-GI symptoms like ‘brain fog,’ headache, fatigue, joint and muscle pain, leg/arm numbness, dermatitis, depression and anemia have also been connected to food intolerance for our Colorado Springs patients. Many patients with these food intolerance issues have been seen by multiple specialists, have suffered for many years and have experimented with non-traditional practitioners spending time and financial resources on tests and therapies that do not have scientific validity.
Semper Paratus … Always Prepared.
An effective treatment plan includes all of the following:
- Identify the allergic triggers.
- Learn where the foods are use and how to identify ‘hidden’ sources of the foods.
- Avoid the problem foods.
- Wear identification.
- Carry medication EVERYWHERE.
- Use the medication at first sign of a reaction.
- Tell someone if you are having a mild reaction and do not try to ‘go it alone.’
- For severe reactions go to an Emergency Room.
Get Help Today
We can help you manage your food allergies so that you can go about your normal day activities. Contact us today to schedule an appointment: