Category Archives: Uncategorized

What is Oral Allergy Syndrome?

Have you ever had an itchy mouth or throat after eating raw fruit or vegetables? It’s not uncommon and usually occurs during the summer, when more fruit is in season and consumed more often. As long as the itch stays in the oral cavity and you don’t experience any other symptoms, this condition is known as Oral Allergy Syndrome (OAS) and it’s actually related to your pollen allergies. Sound crazy? Read on.

People who have OAS are allergic to tree, grass or weed pollens. Many fruits and vegetables contain proteins that are very similar to the protein found on pollens. So your immune system mistakenly (or appropriately) reacts to the fruit and vegetable proteins, thus causing the itchy symptoms in your oral cavity, a process known to immunologists as “cross reactivity”. In addition, symptoms of OAS are usually worse in the pollinating months of the pollen which cross reacts to the food in question, a common example is the pollen from birch trees and apples, a spring-time occurrence, or ragweed pollen and cantaloupes, which is more prevalent in the late summer or autumn.

Although OAS is technically considered a food allergy, it is probably one of the mildest forms of a food allergy and does not require emergency measures such as carrying an Epinephrine injector. And there are some strategies which you can undertake to reduce your symptoms such as taking an oral antihistamine before eating raw fruits and veggies; cooking or heating the food, which breaks down the protein on the food; eating canned fruits or vegetables during your pollen season or having a friend peel the skin off as the majority of the protein is found on the outer surface of the fruit or vegetable. But if the itch is unbearable, you might want to consider eating the raw fruit or vegetable when the cross reacting pollen is out of sight.

Ticks and Lyme Disease

According to the US Department of Agriculture, 2017 will bring the highest number of ticks seen in years. Temperate climate change is primarily to blame, promoting less die-off of ticks in the winter as well as increasing feeding opportunities for their larvae in the warmer months.

Naturally, more ticks results in potentially more cases of tick-borne illnesses such as Lyme disease, which can cause serious and sometimes chronic health woes, which can include symptoms of fatigue, joint pains, headaches, and other neurological challenges such as memory loss, cognitive impairment and difficulty concentrating.

But there are strategies which you can undertake to reduce the likelihood that you will contract Lyme disease this summer. Prevention techniques include avoiding high brush areas and hiking or walking through the center of trails. Wearing light-colored clothing will help identify ticks and using long socks and close-toe shoes at all times as physical barriers is important. Consideration should also be given to employing products that contain permethrin on clothing and gear, such as boots, socks, pants and tents. Make sure that the product contains at least 0.5% permethrin. There are pretreated clothing now available which can last through several washings. If you are knowingly exploring in a tick infested area, you may also consider topical preparations of DEET, picardin or IR3535 to exposed areas of skin. Upon arrival home, examine your outdoor gear, coats, jackets and pets as potential vehicles for allowing ticks to get carried into your home.

Ticks must be attached to their human host for 36 to 48 hours in order to transmit salivary germs so bath
or shower as soon as possible after coming home from the outdoors. Conduct a tick check using a full-body mirror to view all parts of your body upon return from tick infested areas. Parents should also check their children’s underarms, behind the knees, groin areas, inside belly button, and especially areas of hair including the scalp.

If a tick is discovered on you or your loved one, take extra precaution in carefully removing it using tweezers and grabbing the tick as close to your skin as you can. Pull upward slowly until it pops out.
Termed the “great imitator” because it emulates so many other diseases, Lyme can be tricky to detect and diagnose. It’s not uncommon for someone to visit several health care providers and specialists before receiving an accurate diagnosis. Conventional testing methods such as the ELISA and Western Blot tests are considered fairly unreliable, with many producing “false negative” results. If you suspect that you may have this insidious disease and would be interested in learning more about Lyme disease as well as other tick-borne illnesses, give us a call and schedule an appointment with our “Lyme Literate” Integrative Specialist.

Reduce Your Risk of Disease by Living a Healthy Lifestyle

reduce-your-risk-of-disease-by-living-a-healthy-lifestyle

healthy lifestyle

While it certainly cannot hurt, eating an apple a day does not keep the doctor away.  Reducing your risk of disease begins by living a healthy lifestyle, such as eating healthy foods. This also involves eliminating or changing several aspects of your daily life. It really depends on your current type of lifestyle.  To help you go beyond the apple a day, here are some things you can do to live a healthy lifestyle and reduce your risk of disease.

Avoid Processed Foods

It’s easy to spot common processed foods, such as fast food, microwave meals, and prepackaged snacks.  However, cold cuts, also known as lunch meat, are also considered processed food.  Consuming these types of food puts your body at risk of autoimmune diseases such as multiple sclerosis, alopecia, asthma, and eczema.  The most common culprits that cause autoimmune disease are dietary salt intake and refined sugar. Additionally, genetically modified ingredients, as well as artificial colors and preservatives, play a major role in processed foods being unhealthy.

In today’s fast past environment, avoiding processed foods altogether is often difficult. However, you can still make wise choices for a healthy lifestyle.  For example, lean, low-sodium turkey breast is much better for you than salami or bologna.  Also, limit yourself to one or two slices, and don’t eat it every day.  Moreover, make sure you read the nutritional information on all packages of processed food. Doing this helps you know the exact amount sodium and preservatives found in your food.  For most people, the recommended allowance for salt intake is below 1500 mg per day.  Knowing that one slice of bologna contains 300 mg of sodium helps you live a healthy lifestyle.

Another healthy choice includes incorporating more fruits, vegetables, and whole grains into your diet. Additionally, fat-free or low-fat milk and milk products also contribute to a healthier lifestyle.  Lean meats, poultry, fish, beans, eggs, and nuts are also very good for you.  Check the labels for foods that are low in saturated fats, trans fats, cholesterol, sodium (salt), and added sugars. To live a healthy lifestyle and reduce your risk of disease, avoid processed foods completely.

If You Smoke, Stop

Everyone knows that smoking is the leading cause of lung cancer.  This, however, is just the tip of the iceberg.  Smoking also causes cancer anywhere in the body, including the esophagus, bladder, pancreas, cervix, kidney, liver, stomach, and colon – just to name a few.  Furthermore, it causes respiratory diseases such as emphysema and COPD.  Chronic bronchitis and strokes have been linked to smoking as well.

Not only does smoking harm your health, but also the health of anyone you smoke around, especially your family.  In children, second-hand smoke is known to cause middle ear diseases. It is also known to cause respiratory infections, impaired lung function, and sudden infant death syndrome (SIDS).  Quitting smoking will greatly improve the quality of your life, as well as the lives of your family members.  Once you stop smoking, you might notice that you can breathe better. Other benefits include exercising longer with increased energy, renewed taste buds, and improved sense of smell.  The challenge to stop smoking is often easier said than done. Don’t hesitate to speak with your physician if you need help quitting.

Put Down the Bottle

It is a well known fact that alcohol consumption causes liver cirrhosis.  Unfortunately, that is not the only disease caused by alcohol consumption. It has been linked to numerous diseases over the years.  Most people don’t realize that only a small percentage of the alcohol consumed is released through urine, sweat, or breathing. This means, the remaining alcohol is metabolized by your body. This is the cause of the negative effects of drinking.  When alcohol enters the body, it then converts into acetaldehyde, a potent carcinogen. Chronic, heavy alcohol consumption also causes anemia, cancer, cardiovascular disease, depression, hypertension, seizures, and pancreatitis.  This is only the beginning of the havoc drinking alcohol wreaks on your body.

Recently, various reports have been made, that drinking alcohol in moderation, one drink per day for women and two for men, helps to improve heart health.  While this sounds good and true, it is not the only way to improve heart health. Healthier alternatives to drinking alcohol do exist. These also improve heart health, and encourage a healthy lifestyle. Eating a healthy diet and exercising for a healthy heart are backed by much more solid research.

Live a Healthy Lifestyle

Although not all diseases can be avoided, reducing your risk of disease by living a healthy lifestyle is the best way to combat them.  At Avicenna Integrative Medicine, we are here to help.  Combining mind, body, and spirit fusion to reach your wellness goals is our approach to helping you reach your wellness goals.  Call us today at (770) 977-9300 to get healthy and stay that way.

 

The Role Stress Plays In Autoimmune Diseases

Varying factors exist that cause autoimmune diseases. However, at the core of every autoimmune disease lies the root of the problem.  Getting to the root, and being proactive with treatment possibly helps to reverse autoimmune diseases.  Certainly, knowing the root helps to treat it.  Today, chronic stress is always present.  People worry about their children, bills, jobs, health, and many other aspects of their lives. Physical, mental, and emotional stress triggers and exacerbates autoimmune diseases.  There are several different methods in which stress affects the immune system.

Acute Stress and Autoimmune Diseases

Acute stress is “on-the-spot” stressors.  For example, narrowly avoiding being in a car accident is acute stress.  Having to speak in front of people if you have a fear of public speaking is another example. When these situations occur, your body releases a hormone called cortisol. This hormone “tells” your immune system to prepare for a threat.  Your immune system, then produces inflammation until the cortisol alerts that the danger has passed.  Acute stress occurs suddenly and then passes.  It is believed that this type of stress does not have an effect on autoimmune diseases.  Chronic stress, however, is a major contributor.

Chronic Stress and Autoimmune Diseases

Chronic stress occurs in environments such as working long hours, relationship problems, poor nutrition habits, constant sleep deprivation, and severe anxiety.  It is this chronic stress that often causes autoimmune diseases. When chronic stress is present in your life, your immune system never gets to rest or “turn off.”  With your inflammatory immune response activated for a long time, it eventually goes awry and begins attacking your bodily tissues.  It doesn’t take very long for your stress hormones to try to restrain your body’s response.  Unfortunately, it’s overdone and leaves you with a weakened immune system.  At the same time, your body becomes inflamed, and makes you vulnerable to infections.  If infections become active, they destroy tissue which prompts a greater immune response. This leads to your body releasing even more cortisol, which provokes more infection. Sadly, the cycle goes on and on, and your body suffers for it.

It Is Not All in Your Head 

Like most, you probably feel that all the stress is just in your head. However, a large number of patients report uncommon emotional stress levels, just before their autoimmune disease presents.  Further, the stress of having the disease is known to cause autoimmune disease exacerbation.  Chronically elevated cortisol may cause “cortisol resistance” and diminish your body’s ability to control inflammation resulting in inflammatory diseases.  This is why cortisol levels tend to be low in patients with autoimmune disease, despite having higher levels of systemic inflammation.

What You Can Do

The first step, of course, is to try to reduce the amount of chronic stress in your life.  Working too many hours?  Cut down on them.  Relationship problems?  Communicate to resolve them or rid yourself of the problem.  Physical activity such as yoga also may help as will meditation.  Eating properly and eliminating all glutens also helps to decrease your stress levels.

For more information and further help with your stress levels and your autoimmune disease, contact Avicenna Integrative Medicine at (770) 977-9300.  We will work with you in a collaborative approach to reduce your stress levels in a dedicated, energetic effort to reverse and/or treat your autoimmune disease.

A Healthy Immune System Requires a Healthy Gut

a-healthy-immune-system-requires-a-healthy-gut

Would it surprise you if I told you that your gut is home to the largest portion of cells that make up your immune system?  What if I told you that you have two brains and the second one is in your gut?  Amazingly, both are true and in this article, we will discuss how a healthy gut is at the very center of a healthy immune system.

The Gut Defined 

People typically think of their gut as consisting of the stomach and intestines.  Actually, the “gut” includes your entire digestive system.  This includes your mouth, esophagus, stomach, small intestine, pancreas, liver, gallbladder, colon (large intestine), rectum, and anus.  The digestion process begins in your mouth when you chew food into pieces so that it is digested easily.  Each part of the digestive system has its own specific function of breaking down food, absorbing nutrients, keeping toxins out, and producing nutrients.  Yet, they all work together as part of the digestive system or, more commonly, the gut.

Your Gut’s Brain

Referred to by scientists as the enteric nervous system (ENS), the brain in your gut consists of two thin layers of over 100 million nerve cells.  These nerve cells line your gastrointestinal tract from your esophagus to your rectum.  Your gut’s brain is revolutionizing the medical understanding of the links between digestion, mood, health, and the way you think.  Feeling like you have butterflies in your stomach may not be so far-fetched.  When you feel nervous, it is very likely a signal from your second brain.  The feeling does, after all, occur in your gut.

The Gut-Immune System Connection

Many different kinds of bacteria in addition to some non-bacterial organisms live in your gut.  Combined, they are called the gut microbiome.  Your gut microbiome comes from the food you eat and anything else that gets in your mouth.  Aiding in digestion, producing vitamins, and other compounds that directly affect your immune system are part of this organisms role.  It is suspected to play a role in many other health functions such as metabolism, cardiac health, and mood.

Gut and Immune System Maintenance

To maintain a healthy immune system, detoxification, and nourishment, your gut must function flawlessly.  The health of your gut literally affects your whole body.  Your gut works hard and there are some things that quickly throw it off balance.  A junk diet is poor in nutrients and makes all of the wrong bacteria and yeast grow which leads to a damaged system.  Small intestinal bacterial overgrowth, yeast overgrowth, and parasite cause infections and gut imbalances. Moreover, chronic stress changes your gut’s nervous system, which in turn results in a leaky gut and alters the normal gut bacteria.  Overusing medications such as anti-inflammatories, antibiotics, acid-blocking drugs, and steroids damage the gut and/or block normal digestive function.

While the exact mechanisms of the gut-brain connection are still being ironed out, you can practice what is already known to maintain a healthy immune system.  Eat healthy meals including fiber-rich vegetables, get the recommended amount of sleep and exercise, avoid chronic and excessive stress, and do not drink too much alcohol to keep your gut healthy.  Furthermore, take antibiotics only when necessary.  They do not help a virus, cold, or the flu.

If you are experiencing problems with your gut, or immunological problems that you believe may be stemming from your gut health, contact Avicenna Integrative Medicine at (770) 977-9300.  Maziar Rezvani, MD, and his staff will work with you in an energetic, cooperative, dedicated approach to wellness through mind, body, and spirit fusion.  We believe the center of every medical team is you – the patient.  Contact us today for a collaborative approach to your wellness goals.

Autoimmune Diseases – What Are They and Can They Be Reversed?

Your immune system is the bodily system that protects your body from foreign substances, cells, and tissues. As you grow, your immune system develops and has a unique way of remembering bodily invaders such as a cold or the flu so it can fight them if they return.  When your immune system is functioning properly, foreign invaders cause it to activate immune cells to fight the invaders.  Proteins called antibodies are produced and attach themselves to the invaders in an attempt to identify, kill, and destroy the invaders.

When your immune system mistakes your body’s healthy cells as foreign invaders and repeatedly attacks them, this is known as an autoimmune disease.  By definition, “autoimmune” means immunity against the self.  Therefore, you can think of it as your body attacking itself.

Autoimmune Diseases and What They Affect

 There are more than 80 types of autoimmune diseases.  Some of the most common are rheumatoid arthritis, lupus, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis, type 1 diabetes, and multiple sclerosis. Autoimmune diseases do not discriminate.  These affect different parts of your body, including your heart, brain, nerves, muscles, skin, eyes, joints, lungs, kidneys, digestive tract, and blood vessels.

There are several autoimmune diseases that do not limit themselves to only one part of your body.  For example, type 1 diabetes can affect your heart, blood vessels, eyes, kidneys, nerves, muscles, and more.  Lupus can affect your skin, joints, kidneys, heart, nerves, blood vessels, and more.  The parts of the body affected by an autoimmune disease are determined by the parts of the body targeted.  Rheumatoid arthritis affects the joints and often causes joint pain, stiffness, and loss of function.  Moreover, Graves’ disease and thyroiditis cause fatigue, weight gain, and aching muscles.

The Cause of Autoimmune Diseases

No one knows exactly what causes autoimmune diseases.  In a majority of cases, a combination of factors contributes to the cause.  Genetics and environmental factors are just some causes of autoimmune disease. Based on your genetics, you might have a higher likelihood of having and autoimmune disease. These include Crohn’s, lupus, or rheumatoid arthritis. The symptoms of these diseases usually reveal themselves after contracting a viral infection. The strain of the infection sets off an immune reaction.

Many people believe that the current state of our environment often leads to increased diseases. While there is still much research to be done, many experts agree on environmental factors that contribute to autoimmune diseases. Gluten, exposure to harmful medications, cigarette smoking, and pollution often lead to autoimmune diseases. Along with these causes are two other triggers of autoimmune disease: diet and high stress.

Reversing Autoimmune Diseases

Conventional physicians often treat the symptoms of an autoimmune disease rather than getting to the core of what is causing the disease.  Determining the cause of your autoimmune disease can be a lengthy process involving diet modifications, environmental changes, and several tests such as blood tests and stool tests.

If you are diagnosed with an autoimmune disease, the most important first step to take is to find a Functional Medicine Physician in your area.  Rather than just placing you on medication to ease your symptoms, a Functional Medicine Physician is concentrated on and dedicating to getting to the core of the illness.  Combining an Integrative Medicine approach with a Functional Medicine approach is Dr. Maziar Rezvani’s specialty.  Dr. Rezvani blends western medicine with prevention, lifestyle modifications, and various modalities of alternative therapy to determine the cause of your illness.  Once this has been accomplished, the chances of reversing an autoimmune disease greatly improve.

Mind, Body, and Spirit for Wellness

At Avicenna Integrative Medicine, Dr. Rezvani and his staff focus on your body’s natural healing abilities and create a personalized plan of action for you to achieve wellness through mind, body, and spirit fusion.  If you suspect you have an autoimmune disease, or if you have already been diagnosed with one, and would like to reverse it, call Dr. Rezvani’s office today at (770) 977-9300.  Working collaboratively, there is a good chance your autoimmune disease can be reversed.

Your Genes Do Not Define Your Fate

Your mother has allergies, your father has diabetes, and mental health issues are prevalent in your family genes.  Are you wondering when one or each of these medical conditions begin to take over your own mind and body?  If you are just waiting for the “bad” family genes to rear their heads – stop.

Your health is determined by many other things than your genes, most of which you can control.  In fact, your genes actually do not play a huge role in most health issues.  While we all do have a genetic imprint, living a healthy vs. unhealthy lifestyle may be the reason a specific gene appears or disappears.

The Weight of Your Genes

There is a difference in being obese and being overweight.  Obesity means you have too much body fat.  Overweight means you weigh too much.  This weight may be muscle, bone, fat, or body water.  If you are overweight or obese, is this because one or both of your parents are?  Quite possibly, yes.  However, the question that needs answering, is why you and your parents are obese.  Do you have healthy eating habits?  Do you eat a lot of processed foods?  Do you eat a lot of “junk” food? Do you eat because you are bored?  Children learn what they live and if you grew up in a household with poor nutrition habits, chances are highly likely that this is the culprit of your obesity.  Can you change it?  Absolutely!

 

Once you have your mind set to living a healthy lifestyle, you can practice good nutrition habits such as eating plenty of fruits and vegetables, portion control, checking nutrition labels to avoid anything high in fats, sugars, and other chemicals.  Your genes do not control your weight. You control your weight by making good, healthy lifestyle choices.

The Effects of Your Surroundings 

The environment greatly contributes to your well-being.  The air and water quality, the house you live in, and the ability to get outside and enjoy some green space all affect your health as well as your mindset.  If you live near an industrial site, you may have to deal with pollution in the air, water, or ground that is causing health problems.  Living in an urban area may restrict your access to green space and recreational areas. If you have asthma or allergies, the causes are not necessarily your genes.  Toxic exposure to pollution, less green space, and second-hand smoke can and do contribute to your overall well-being.

Not only is your physical health affected, but also your mental health.  Factors such as overcrowding, excessive noise, and lack of access to nature can greatly contribute to emotional stress.  If you live in a mid- to high-crime area where it is not safe to get outdoors just to take a walk, this can lead to depression, anxiety, and other medical conditions.

The Choice Is Yours 

Whether you are short or tall, blonde or brunette, brown- or green-eyed is determined by your genes, your health is not.  Choosing to live a healthy lifestyle by eating well, avoiding toxic exposure, thinking positively, and having a strong belief in yourself are some of the best things you can do to ensure you do not fall into the “it’s in my genes” trap.

You are in control of your fate, not your genes.  At Avicenna Integrative Medicine, we practice an energetic, cooperative, dedicated approach to wellness through mind, body, and spirit fusion.  Helping you create a personalized plan of action to get healthy and stay healthy is our goal.  Contact us at (770) 977-9300 and we will help you achieve your wellness goals by listening and communicating to enhance your body’s natural healing capabilities.

 

 

 

 

Curing Hypothyroidism Without Medication

We all wish we could find the proverbial fountain of youth; to bottle that energy for our daily consumption. Perhaps you are like countless others, who have recently been diagnosed with hypothyroidism. You just want to have the energy to get through the day, to exercise, and maybe even lose that stubborn weight. However, the thought of taking a synthetic drug to help your thyroid is daunting. You would prefer to help your body naturally. In this post we discuss ways to cure hypothyroidism without taking a synthetic medication.

What is Hypothyroidism

Hypothyroidism, also known as under-active thyroid, is a condition in which your thyroid gland doesn’t produce enough of certain important hormones.  Receptors for thyroid hormones are found throughout the body.  A disruption in a normal-functioning thyroid causes problems in virtually every system of the body – including the heart, GI tract, sleep, mood, and the growth of skin, hair, and nails.

Typically, hypothyroidism is diagnosed based on your symptoms and the results of blood tests. Once diagnosed, physicians prescribe a synthetic drug. The purpose of this drug is to help maintain normal metabolism by correcting the deficiency of the thyroid hormone.  Once medication has been initiated, TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) levels are checked after about two months. This allows the heart time to adjust to your metabolism being artificially increased.  Some of the side effects of synthetic thyroid medication include shakiness, heart palpitations, insomnia, and changes in appetite.  When hormone replacement therapy begins, the thyroid will eventually stop producing hormones altogether; therefore, replacement hormones must be continued for the rest of your life.  There is, however, another alternative – curing hypothyroidism without medication.

Dietary Changes

If you have been diagnosed with hypothyroidism, the first thing you need to do is thoroughly evaluate your diet.  Eliminating harmful foods from your diet is just as important as incorporating helpful foods.  A few of these foods are:

  • Gluten – If you have hypothyroidism and you consume gluten or any other type of wheat, this is not helping your condition. The molecular structure of the thyroid and gliadin, one of the proteins found in gluten, is very similar. It is so similar that when gluten gets through your stomach and into your blood stream, your immune system mounts an attack against the gliadin proteins since they are not supposed to be there. Since the thyroid is seen as a similar molecule, your immune system also begins to attack against your thyroid.
  • Processed foods and sugar – Processed foods and sugar cause inflammation in the body. This inflammation inhibits T3 and T4 (hormones produced by the thyroid) conversion. Eliminate processed foods and sugar from your diet not only for your hypothyroidism, but also for your general overall health.
  • Soy – If you have an existing thyroid condition, excess consumption of soy may affect thyroid function. This is more of a concern in individuals already taking thyroid replacement medication; however, with soy in everything today (soy burgers, soy milk, soy cheese), you should pay close attention to the ingredients in products.  Moderately consuming soy (one serving daily of whole soy foods) should be fine.
  • Iodine – Consuming adequate iodine from dietary sources is important as well. Iodized salt, fresh ocean fish, and seaweed are good sources of iodine.  It is not necessary to take an iodine supplement unless your physician directs you to do so.

Exercise

Regular exercise is an important factor in managing many of the hypothyroidism symptoms.  Burning calories helps to prevent weight gain and also helps reverses the effects of a sluggish metabolism.  A good workout also helps to boost your mood. Exercising results in your body releasing endorphins and other mood-enhancing chemicals. Low-impact aerobics and strength training are the perfect place to start. This kind of exercise gets your heart rate up and your lungs going without putting too much pressure on your joints.  This is important because joint pain is another common symptom of hypothyroidism.

A Team Effort

Curing hypothyroidism without medication takes a great deal of time and effort, but it can be done.  Dr. Maziar Rezvani and the staff at Avicenna Integrative Medicine are committed to enhancing your body’s natural healing abilities.  Working together as a team with a dedication to wellness through mind, body, and spirit fusion, Dr. Rezvani and the staff create a personalized wellness plan for you.  For more information on curing hypothyroidism without medication, contact Avicenna Integrative Medicine at (770) 977-9300.

Steps to Prevent Allergies

Whether you have an allergy to dust mites, pollen, or any other substance considered an allergen, there are steps you can take to prevent exposure to them. Inhaling or touching an allergen are two ways many allergens enter your body. By taking steps for prevention of allergies, you can save yourself a lot of misery and suffering.  Allergies can cause hay fever, asthma, and dermatitis (eczema). It is important to do all you can to prevent allergies, so you can live a happy, healthy life.

Check Pollen Counts

 Weather reports and local radio stations report the pollen count very frequently.  If the pollen count is high, stay indoors if possible. Keep the windows closed and use a dehumidifier to reduce the humidity indoors.

Have Your Cooling and Heating Air Ducts Professionally Cleaned

 Allergy-proofing your home doesn’t stop allergens that are released into the air and spread through the heating and air-conditioning ducts. The most common items found in home duct systems are dust from drywall, sawdust, concrete dust, pollen, and air particulates.  Any and all of these can be allergens for children or adults. Therefore, it is very important to have your cooling and heating air ducts professionally cleaned to help prevent allergies.

Clean and Repair

Water leaks should be repaired immediately as mold spores grow and spread rapidly.  If there are any moldy surfaces in your home, clean them with bleach. Mold can trigger the same symptoms as pollen.  A dehumidifier also stops mold growth by reducing the moisture content of your air and keeping your home’s overall humidity under control.  The Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America states the goal is to keep humidity in your home below 45%, below 35% is even better.

Practice Pet Control

Pet hair itself is not an allergen. The dander, urine, saliva, dust, and pollen carried in a pet’s hair are allergens. These allergens collect on furniture and other surfaces and do not lose their strength for a long time. Pets should be kept off of the furniture and out of your bedroom. If you have severe allergies, it may be best not to have a pet.

Launder Well and Frequently

If you suffer from allergies, bedding should be washed weekly in hot water weekly at temperatures above 130°F.  Dry clothes inside as drying them outside allows pollen and other allergens to stick to the clean laundry.

Bathe before Bed

Showering or bathing before going to bed will help reduce the transfer of allergens to your bedding. Additionally, wash your hands often during the day to remove allergens such as pollen and pet dander.

Food Allergies

Food allergies can be very serious for some people.  The only proven method of prevention is strict avoidance of the food you are allergic to.  Read food packages carefully as food manufacturers are required to list possible allergy-inducing ingredients.

Getting Relief

If you suffer from allergies and need further help preventing them or treatment for when they flare, contact Avicenna Allergy & Asthma at 770-977-9300.  We bring you and our staff together in an energetic, cooperative, dedicated approach to wellness.  Relief is just a phone call away.

Are You Certain You Have a Food Allergy?

Everyone these days, claims to have a food allergy; it’s almost an epidemic.  It seems more and more children are being diagnosed with peanut allergies and more adults are diagnosed with gluten allergies. There is a difference between a food allergy and a food intolerance.  These differences are important to determine if, in fact, you do have a food allergy or a different underlying medical condition. Let’s discuss these in further detail.

Food Allergy

If you have a true food allergy, your immune system overreacts to a particular food.  Symptoms can occur even when coming in contact with just a tiny amount of the food or a surface the food touched.  Have you ever seen a label that said, “This product was produced in a facility that also has wheat?”  If you have a wheat allergy, you need to avoid that product as even a small amount can trigger a reaction.

The symptoms of a true allergic reaction to food, usually occur within minutes of eating or touching the trigger food, although they can sometimes appear a few hours later. Symptoms of a food allergy include, but are not limited to:

  • Hives or itchy, red skin
  • Sneezing and/or itchy teary nose or eyes
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, and/or stomach cramps
  • Angioedema (swelling affecting the deeper layers of skin, typically around the eyes and lips) or general swelling
  • Anaphylaxis (hoarseness, lump in throat, throat tightness, wheezing, chest tightness, trouble breathing, hands, feet, lips, or scalp tingling)

It is imperative to have a proper diagnosis of a food allergy, as they can be life-threatening. An allergist/immunologist may order skin tests or blood tests, and you may also undergo a food challenge while under his or her care.  Studies have shown that many suspected food allergies are caused by other conditions such as a food intolerance.

Food Intolerance

When a food irritates your stomach or your body cannot properly digest it, that is known as a food intolerance.  Symptoms of a food intolerance may be gas, cramps, bloating, heartburn, headaches, irritability, or nervousness.  If you have a food intolerance, you may not have symptoms or a reaction every time you eat a certain food.  A food intolerance sometimes occur if your body struggles to absorb specific ingredients or if your body does not produce enough of an enzyme required to thoroughly digest the food.  A food intolerance can range from the complete inability to digest a food to being able to ingest small amounts of the food.

Any food intolerance needs to be evaluated under a physician’s care as your body may be lacking in key nutrients if you are unable to tolerate certain foods.  By keeping a diary and consulting with your physician, you can very likely come up with a solution to your food intolerance.

Underlying Conditions 

There are several gastrointestinal diseases or other illnesses that mimic a food allergy or food intolerance.  Some of these are gallstones, peptic ulcers, Crohn’s disease, non-ulcer dyspepsia, certain cancers, and eosinophilic gastroenteritis.  Therefore, it is crucial that you seek a physician’s expertise if you suspect a food intolerance or food allergy.  You could very likely have an underlying condition or illness that needs to be immediately addressed.

At Avicenna Allergy and Asthma, Dr. Maziar Rezvani and his staff can help you determine the exact cause of your condition and develop a personalized plan for you to obtain your wellness goals through mind, body, and spirit fusion.  Call (770) 977-9300 to schedule an appointment.  We look forward to helping you!