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What is IgE Allergy Testing?

What is an IgE Allergy Test?

With so many options for allergy testing, it can be hard to figure out which kind you should go for. You may have come across the term ‘IgE allergy testing’ here and there but aren’t sure what it means. We’re here to clear up the confusion.

What does IgE mean?

An IgE allergy test is a scientifically proven allergy test that uses a blood sample to determine if you have an allergy to certain substances. It tests for the antibody immunoglobin E (IgE), after exposing the sample to certain substances. If the patient is suffering from an allergy, the antibody will become present. The higher the levels of IgE, the more likely you are suffering from an allergy.

Not all Allergy Tests will Test for IgE

First of all, not all allergy tests are IgE allergy tests. The allergy test that doctors prefer to perform – the skin prick test doesn’t test for Immunoglobin E. This test only looks for a visual response on the surface of the skin – after puncturing suspected allergens into the skin. Although the reaction is caused by IgE antibodies, it doesn’t detect IgE’s for certain. While not all allergy tests are IgE, blood allergy tests are usually IgE allergy tests.

Pros of IgE over other Allergy Tests

One of the main benefits of IgE allergy testing over traditional skin-prick testing is that there is no risk of a reaction during testing. Because the patient doesn’t come into contact with any allergens during testing, there’s virtually no chance of adverse reactions occurring or skin reactions developing. There’s also the benefit of only 1-3 punctures needed for the sample to be taken with IgE allergy testing. That’s a much lower puncture count compared to skin-prick testing which would require a puncture for each allergen tested.

IgE allergy testing is an excellent choice for people wanting an allergy test, without a trip to the doctors. It’s convenient, safe and can be done from the comfort of your own home.

What is an IgE Allergy Test?

What is an IgE Allergy Test?

Knowing what foods your body needs is fundamental to taking proper care of yourself.  But what about which foods your body doesn’t want? Food allergies are becoming more and more common in the UK. And as more people dive into the world of food allergies, an IgE test is key in understanding what’s going on in our bodies and how best to take care of ourselves.

Allergy Testing

An IgE food allergies test is a lab-driven test designed to determine how your body reacts to certain food allergens.  There are hundreds of potential allergens in the world of food, and the only way to know for certain what is causing your body to have an allergic reaction is to test against all of them.

Multiple Options for Testing

There are several options for testing for food allergies.  The first option is a skin prick test.  This uses small allergen samples under the skin to elicit a reaction in your body by creating a rash.  But when it comes to food allergens, this isn’t always the best result.  Another option — with arguably better results — is a blood test.  This uses a sample of blood to rest against hundreds of food ingredient allergens to determine which ones create a reaction.  The least popular option is the idea of a hair root test.  Using a sample of hair (with the root) to determine which ingredients cause a reaction. 

What is the IgE Allergy Blood Test?

An IgE allergy test is an analysis of a sample (usually blood) where the lab check for an IgE-mediated immune response when exposed to certain allergens. An allergy is a type I hypersensitivity meaning that exposure to an allergen results in the production of immunoglobulin E (IgE) antibodies, the release of histamine and symptoms (which may lag behind the other responses). Allergens are usually easy to identify due to the quick nature of the reaction.

This is the most efficient method for allergy testing against multiple foods. A small blood sample can be subject to hundreds of common allergens and complete results can be ready very quickly.

Fast and Effective Results

With food allergy testing you get concrete results, for an abundance of allergens, in very little time. This will allow you freedom over your diet and food choices again, without the fear and uncertainty of whether your meal will stir up trouble.  You’ll see in intricate detail what makes your body react and why. Helping you avoid any future reactions to food, which is great for those who have a history of moderate to severe reactions. Although, since one reaction doesn’t accurately indicate the severity of future reactions — i.e. a mild reaction can easily grow into a severe one — knowing what to avoid for your own safety is paramount.

You’ll Understand Your Body Better

If you decide to have proper IgE allergy testing, you’ll understand how your body reacts to the food that you are eating, and how avoiding these key ingredients will make you healthier in the long-term.  Having a food allergy is serious and important to know, but once you get the rest results back, you can back in control of your own body and be able to improve your overall quality of life as a result.

Food allergies are serious

What Exactly Is An Allergy?

We’ve all heard people talking about having ‘allergies’. It’s quite a common thing in the modern age, but the true definition of what an allergy actually is, is lost on many. So, in an attempt to address that in some small way, we look now at the paradigm of allergies in closer detail.

According to Dictionary.com, an allergy is:

“An abnormal reaction of the body to a previously encountered allergen introduced by inhalation, ingestion, injection, or skin contact”

Essentially, an allergy is the body’s reaction to something it comes into contact with via ingestion, breathing or touching. One of the main variables in the equation is exactly what causes the reaction and there are lots of things that can trigger an attack.

The Symptoms

An allergic reaction can be as mild as a runny nose and as severe as anaphylactic shock, which can be potentially life threatening. There are many different grades of allergic reaction.

Mild reactions tend to affect very localised areas of the body and can result in irritation to soft tissue around the eyes, nose and mouth.

Moderate reactions however, can be transmitted to other parts of the body and can involve respiratory distress.

Severe reactions are quite rare and can be very sudden. The symptoms are much more acute and can develop into serious cramping, vomiting and abdominal pain. It can also include swelling, which can be a serious complication when it’s in the throat. Anaphylaxis, the most severe symptom, comes with muscle spasms, dizziness and a sharp drop in blood pressure.

Types of Allergies

Another variable is exactly what the source of the allergy is. There are quite a number of kinds of allergy, so it’s important to know which you have.

Foods

There are unfortunately, many foods that can trigger an allergic reaction, but they tend to be from the same type of proteins found in wheat, milk, eggs and nuts, as well as shellfish, beans, corn and some berries. This type of reaction usually presents as coughing, itchy eyes, stomach cramps and gastric distress. Some reactions can be more severe and potentially dangerous, meaning knowledge of your own triggers is imperative.

Drugs

An allergy to drugs can occur when antibiotics are administered or when sulfa drugs (used to treat a host of ailments, including arthritis) are given.

Skin Contact

Issues like eczema and dermatitis occur when the skin comes directly into contact with an allergen. It can be a rash caused by a change in washing powder or more serious hives and swelling of various parts of the body, and can be brought on by pets, pollen and even stress.

Knowledge is Power

Knowing what triggers an allergy is as important as knowing how to treat one. It means that you can take steps to avoid whatever it is. It could be pollen causing you problems or mould or even dust in the air (which you can never eliminate completely), but the culprit can just as easily be a foodstuff, which is far easier to keep your distance from.

Plainly put, knowledge is power. Identifying substances your body can’t deal with very well, is the only quick way to eliminate the cause and start enjoying an allergy free life.

How do you find out for sure?

At Lifelabtesting.com, we perform comprehensive testing and blood testing to really get to the heart of the problem and it doesn’t cost the earth either. From as little as £75, we will produce a medically approved report on over 25 different possible allergens.

A small price to pay when compared against a lifetime of suffering the negative effects of allergic reactions. Visit our website to find out more or to have a ‘live chat’ with one of our team.