Allergy or hypersensitivity is an overreaction that occurs when our body encounters any substance that it has encountered before and has developed an opposite substance (antibody) that is considered harmful.
What are the Causes of Allergic Diseases?
Although the exact cause of allergic diseases, which are accepted as the most common disease group in the world, is not known, it is well known that some conditions facilitate the occurrence of these diseases. Among the reasons that facilitate the occurrence of allergic diseases, “atopy” takes the first place. Atopy is the innate tendency of people to react easily to allergens in their environment. Atopy usually shows familial features. In other words, if a person’s parents and siblings have allergic diseases, the probability of having an allergic disease is higher than other people. However, it is not necessary to have a familial predisposition or atopy in allergic diseases. For example, no family member of a person with a penicillin allergy may have the allergy.
What is Eye Allergy (Allergic Conjunctivitis), How Does It Occur?
The membrane layer that covers the inner surface of the eyelid and the outer part of the eyeball is called the conjunctiva. In allergic diseases, the conjunctiva can be affected and inflamed. Allergic conjunctivitis is the most common allergic disease of the eye. Seasonal rhinitis and conjunctivitis (Spring allergy) usually begins in the spring and resolves spontaneously with the end of the pollen season. This is called allergic rhinoconjunctivitis. Bluegrass pollens are the leading allergens responsible for allergic conjunctivitis. In the year-round form, the symptoms continue throughout the year without showing seasonal changes. In both forms, patients experience burning, watering, itching, burrs in the eyes and swelling of the eyelids. There is redness and swelling on the inside of the eyelid.
What is Allergic Rhinitis?
The most important step in the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis is a detailed questioning including family history and previous tests and treatments applied to the patient. The age of the patient and the environments in which the complaints arise should be asked. It is important to pay attention to the family history, as there is a genetic predisposition. In addition, lower respiratory tract diseases, skin findings, food allergy should be questioned. There may be wrinkles on the transverse skin line on the outside of the nose. This condition occurs after the nose is constantly rubbed upwards in childhood and is called the “allergic salute”. Dark changes under the eyes due to edema in the nasal mucosa are called “Allergic eye circles”. Patients with allergic rhinitis may have a typical facial appearance called an allergic face (adenoid face). In the first years of life, when breathing with an open mouth for a year, this situation leads to abnormal development in the face and jaw bones, the jaw angles downwards, and developmental disorders occur in the teeth. Allergic skin tests are very important in the diagnosis of allergic rhinitis. The most widely used and most practical diagnostic method today is skin tests. Allergic skin tests give reliable results, allow diagnosis in a short time, and are also inexpensive. The diagnostic value of blood IgE level in allergic diseases is limited. Values above 100-150 u/ml are considered high. While normal values can be found in 50 percent of those with allergic disease, high IgE levels can be found in those without allergic disease and those with parasites. The specific IgE test, which is defined as the detection of IgE that develops against the allergen in question in the blood, is another diagnostic method used today. Its advantages are that it is not affected by skin sensitivity and has no drug interaction. However, late results and lack of some allergens are disadvantages.
Allergic Rhinitis-Asthma Coexistence
Studies have shown that 20-40% of patients with allergic rhinitis also have asthma. In addition, 60-80 percent of asthmatic patients have complaints and findings related to the upper respiratory tract. In fact, when the questioning in terms of rhinitis was made a little more detailed, the presence of rhinitis was found in 98 percent of the patients with allergic asthma. The risk of developing asthma in patients with rhinitis is three times higher than those without rhinitis, and rhinitis is thought to be a risk factor for asthma. It has been found that untreated allergic rhinitis also negatively affects asthma control in patients with asthma accompanied by rhinitis.