Food Allergies – By the time you are over 50, you think you know which foods you can eat and which you can’t. Because of this, you might be shocked if you develop a food allergy later in life. Actually, as we get older, changes in our bodies can lead to food allergies.
Aging can cause your stomach to produce less gastric aid, resulting in some nutrients leading to an alteration in the immune system.
The most common allergen people develop as adults, according to the Northwestern Medicine Study, is shellfish. Other common adult-onset food allergies are to milk, peanuts, tree nuts, fish, eggs, wheat, soy and sesame.
Identifying a food allergy can be challenging in people 50 and older. The symptoms may not be as clear cut as when you’re younger and can involve the respiratory system, skin, nose, mouth, ears, gastrointestinal tract or even the heart.
It’s not uncommon for a health care professional to mistake food allergy symptoms in an older adult for problems with a medication, sleep issues, viruses, autoimmune diseases, general aging or gastrointestinal problems like irritable bowel syndrome. The longer a person continues to eat the allergen, the more serious the reactions can be, a particular concern in people with other health issues. Patients themselves may never consider a food allergy to be the root of their health issues, which can add to the difficulty in diagnosis.
Be sure not to ignore any new reaction you might have to a food or substance. By paying close attention to this reaction and determining its cause, you will be better prepared to eat safely and avoid further reactions. Living with a food allergy can be complicated and challenging. Your allergen could be an ingredient in foods you would never imagine finding it in.
Here are some helpful tips for managing your allergy:
Read the ingredient list on all foods.
Inform your doctor of any suspected allergic reactions.
Avoid cross-contamination if others in your home continue to eat the allergen. Don’t share the same unwashed cutting board, for example.
Be clear with restaurant staff and verify that they can prepare your food allergen-free.
Alert family and friends so the food you consume from them is allergen-free.
Don’t cheat! Even one bite of your allergen can be life-threatening.
Avoid over-the-counter antihistamines, they can contribute to falls and urinary tract infections in the elderly.
Avoid outdoor activities when the pollen count is particularly high.
Be sure your air conditioner is serviced regularly and equipped with a High-Efficiency Particulate Air (HEPA) filter that can remove allergens from the outside air and keep them from entering and circulating in the house.
Speak to your allergist and their staff for guidance.
Peripheral Neuropathy is damage or dysfunction of one or more nerves that typically results in weakness, numbness and pain, usually in your hands and feet. It can also affect other areas of your body.
Your peripheral nervous system is the network of nerves outside your brain and spinal cord.
Peripheral neuropathy can result from traumatic injuries, infections, metabolic problems, inherited causes and exposure to toxins. Diabetes is a leading cause of neuropathy.
Every nerve in your peripheral system has a specific function. Nerves are classified into:
Sensory nerves that receive sensation, such as temperature, pain, vibration or touch from the skin.
Motor nerves that control muscle movement.
Autonomic nerves that control functions such as breathing, digestion, blood pressure, heart rate, sweating and bladder control.
If you have neuropathy, the symptoms you feel will depend on the type of nerve that is damaged. The most commonly described feelings are sensations of numbness, tingling (pins and needles) and weakness in the area of the body affected. Other sensations include sharp, lightening-like pain, or a burning, throbbing or stabbing pain.
Some peripheral neuropathies develop slowly - over months to years - while others develop more rapidly and continue to get worse. The way your condition progresses and how quickly your symptoms start can vary greatly depending on the type of nerve or nerves damaged and the underlying cause of the condition.
The best way to prevent peripheral neuropathy is to manage medical conditions that put you at risk, such as diabetes, alcoholism or rheumatoid arthritis. Eating a diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains and lean protein helps keep your nerves healthy, with your doctor’s okay getting at least 30 minutes of exercise at least 3 times per week and avoiding factors that may cause nerve damage, including repetitive motions, cramped positions, smoking and overindulging in alcohol are some healthy lifestyle choices that will support nerve health.
Complications of peripheral neuropathy can Include:
Burns and skin trauma - You might not feel temperature changes or pain.
Infection - Your feet and other areas lacking sensation can become injured without your knowing.
Falls - Weakness and loss of sensation may be associated with a lack of balance and falling.
Seek medical care right away If you notice unusual tingling, weakness or pain in your hands or feet. Early diagnosis and treatment offer the best chance for controlling your symptoms and preventing further damage to your peripheral nerves.
Due to the Coronavirus, the MPTF Board has regretfully decided to suspend transportation assistance to our parishioners indefinitely. If you need transportation to medical appointments please call Kathy Burda at 570-621-3220 and she will try to assist you with alternative arrangements.