Recently Dr. Z shared his story about how he was able to turn off his allergies. But do you ever wonder if your allergies have a genetic cause or if yours can ever go away? As one of Rhode Island’s top asthma and allergy physicians, Dr. Z gets asked a lot of questions like these. Here we’ve gathered Dr. Z’s top 3 most frequently asked questions (FAQs) to get his insights on these important topics, including a bonus video about asthma, allergies, and Covid-19.
1. Do allergies ever go away?
We’re learning more and more about this topic, including how functional medicine can shed even more light on it. As Dr. Z explains, “it’s very individualized because it really depends on a person’s underlying immune system and the interaction between their lifestyle, their environment, their gut, and how the gut talks to a person’s immune system and emphasizes tolerance. One thing that I keep talking about in my lectures and webinars is how our microbiome and our environment and our stress affect our T regulatory cells, which play a role in immune tolerance and our propensity toward allergies.”
Going back to whether allergies stay or go depends on many things. One of these is whether you are continually exposed to the allergen in question. If you can reduce exposure, you lower your propensity toward allergies. Conversely, if you have continued exposure, you’re going to have continued symptoms. Dr. Z also recommends sublingual immunotherapy, commonly known as allergy drops, which offers a way to desensitize a person to the allergen and can often lead to a permanent state of tolerance.
2. Are allergies genetic?
Studies show that if one parent has allergies such as hay fever, asthma, eczema etc., there’s approximately a 35% chance that the offspring will have allergies. If both parents have allergies, the likelihood goes up to about 70%. However, Dr. Z points out that a person’s lifestyle and environment also play a big role in the way allergies are expressed. “If you have a very healthy lifestyle, a healthy diet with a lot of fruits and vegetables, and a healthy microbiome, something that we’ve talked a lot about this year, it keeps your propensity to allergy in balance where you have fewer allergy symptoms and less chance of allergies.”
3. What is my skin or gut issue related to?
According to Dr. Z, the skin is an area that plays a big role in functional medicine. It is an area where dysfunction within the body is often expressed in the form of rash, hives, or other typically itchy or painful skin eruptions. As a functional allergist, Dr. Z looks for the source of the dysfunction. “I’ve been seeing so many patients with hives, more than ever. What’s happening is the hives are an expression of an increased outpouring of histamine from mast cells, which are allergy-producing cells in the body. This increased release of histamine is causing hives and swelling throughout the body causing inflammation. It’s the body on fire, the body overreacting.”
Dr. Z recounts the story of a patient who had an unusual rash for 20 years. She’d been diagnosed with a sensitivity to sun exposure even though it was affecting areas of her body that weren’t sun exposed. “We did the food inflammation test on her and it came back positive for one food: corn. Within two weeks of going off corn, a simple elimination diet, her skin eruptions cleared for the first time in 20 years. It’s incredible the association with different things in the body and how it is expressed in the skin.”
Do you have an asthma or allergy question? To learn more about these or to get answers to your own questions, schedule a consultation with Dr. Z or any of our other dedicated team members at the office location of your choice.
Do you have an asthma or allergy question?
Interested in learning more about these or any other related topics? Schedule a consultation with Dr. Z or any of our other dedicated team members at the office location of your choice.