Diseases

Allergy and Nervous System – Causes, Symptoms & Treatment

Allergy and nervous system

An allergy is a special sensitivity of the organism to different substances such as chemicals, human or animal proteins, medicines, plants, grass pollen and food. The organism forms antibodies against substances (antigens) that enter the blood via the respiratory tract, through the skin and mucous membranes or when ingesting food.

causes

In the event of repeated encounters with substances to which the body is sensitized by the formation of antibodies, there is theoretically a reaction between antigen and antibody. Certain substances, including histamine, are released in the process, the effects of which result in general reactions in the organism:

For example, itchy skin wheals, eczema , bronchial spasms, increased mucus secretion, temperature increases and circulatory symptoms, the intensity of which can increase to a total collapse of the circulatory function.

In the broadest sense, the frequency of such diseases can depend on the constitution of the human body. There are families in which the tendency to allergic diseases such as eczema, bronchial asthma , hay fever and others is widespread due to the particular permeability of the mucous membranes. In such cases, an attempt must be made as early as childhood to achieve a change in the reaction state of the organism, i.e. the disposition to allergies , through systematic drug therapy, climate treatment and other physiotherapeutic measures.

Frequent confrontation with certain materials or substances can ultimately lead to an allergy; one thinks in particular of jobs in the chemical industry. Hypersensitivity to such allergens (that is, substances that trigger allergic symptoms) can go so far that they can trigger allergic symptoms even when diluted 1:1,000,000. Incidentally, this is the basis of the principle of allergy tests , in which high dilutions of substances that may cause an allergy are introduced into the skin.

Careful accustoming to such dilutions, the concentration of which is gradually increased, can render the subject insensitive to these substances. Such a process is called desensitization. All of these connections were explained in detail after the first investigations by Richet, who in 1902 first observed the regularity of allergic reactions in animal experiments when states of shock occurred. However, both in animal experiments and in humans, it has been observed that the occurrence and progression of allergic reactions can vary with exposure to the same level of allergen.

For example, the symptoms of hay fever that has existed for years can become significantly worse under the influence of professional and private conflicts. The opposite can also happen, as we observed in a patient whose symptoms of hay fever disappeared completely for some time after a death in the family. The influence of central nervous stimuli on blood vessel permeability, on the allergic reaction and possibly also on the formation of antibodies is already evident here.

examples

Under certain conditions, allergy sufferers also experience physical sensations that are similar to those of allergic reactions and in which no allergen can be detected, in fact, in which an involvement of the allergen can be ruled out with certainty. There is a real allergy to certain substances, which can also be feigned by other factors. The following examples for this:

A girl suffers from a food allergy to strawberries, which is manifested by itchy red bumps on her skin. For this reason, her doctor has forbidden her to eat these tasty fruits. When friends visit, she has to watch a strawberry meal with whipped cream, much to her chagrin. And yet, towards the end of the meal, she starts to feel itchy and the same skin wheals appear as if she had actually eaten the fruit.

In this case, one could also assume that an allergy is caused by the smell of strawberries, since we know that even minimal amounts of the allergen can cause a pronounced allergic appearance. To check, we put the patient, who was interested in clarification herself, under hypnosis and suggested eating strawberries. She happily grabbed the fruit she could imagine. After a short time, the same skin symptoms appeared as after a real consumption of strawberries.

The triggering of an asthma attack as an expression of hypersensitivity to bed feathers or mold found in bed feathers can occur in the same intensity with all symptoms of bronchial spasm and increased mucus secretion if the touch of fungus bed feathers is only feigned. The best known, however, is the following much-cited example: A patient who responded to the smell of roses with an asthma attack suffered a violent attack when smelling paper roses. Our examples make it clear that, in addition to a real allergy, other factors also trigger an allergic attack, namely nerve reflexes, which develop more and more the longer the illness lasts.

Such patients show a development of the “conditioned reflexes” described by Pavlov, but in this case too pathologically conditioned reactions that are triggered solely by the idea, i.e. via the central nervous system, such as the flow of saliva at the mere thought of a tasty food.

However, the influence of the central nervous system on the course of the allergic reaction becomes even more complicated when other factors are included, as explained at the beginning using the example of hay fever. This applies to both bronchial asthma and allergic skin symptoms. Eczema can disappear completely in a state of mental relaxation.

In addition to the existing physical changes, the psychological attitude towards the suffering, especially in connection with the triggering of the individual seizure, also plays a major role. Even the fear of having a seizure in general is likely to cause the seizure disorder. The repeated experience of an asthma attack in the parental home can significantly increase the tendency to have an actual attack, especially in children. Periods of mental and physical exhaustion can also lead to an increase in seizures, while a balanced mood at the holiday destination or elation can act like “asthma medicine”.

Symptoms, Ailments & Signs

The symptoms and symptoms of an allergy can be very different and also depend very much on the allergy in question. In the worst case, an allergy can also lead to a shock, whereby treatment in a hospital is absolutely necessary. In the case of an allergy, most patients suffer from itching and reddened skin.

The itching increases when the sufferer scratches. Swelling or breathing difficulties can also occur as a result of the allergy and have a very negative effect on the patient’s quality of life. The difficulty in breathing is often so severe that it leads to a loss of consciousness . Swelling can lead to restrictions in movement.

Furthermore, it often comes to reddened and itchy eyes, which can also water. Symptoms worsen if the allergen continues to be ingested or inhaled. When the allergen is removed, the symptoms usually go away on their own. An allergy can also lead to discomfort in the abdomen or stomach. Many of those affected therefore also suffer from diarrhea or vomiting . Heart palpitations can also occur. Those affected often also have a cold and severe headaches, and often have to sneeze.

complications

Allergies have a significant impact on the nervous system and can cause a number of complications. With type I, the immediate type allergy, there is a risk of an immediate allergic reaction. Such an anaphylactic shock is accompanied, among other things, by a severe drop in blood pressure, nausea and vomiting as well as asthmatic symptoms and can subsequently lead to fainting or even death of the person concerned.

As a result of an allergic cold, allergic bronchial asthma can develop, which is associated with coughing, shortness of breath and the resulting anxiety. Type II, the cytotoxic allergy, can lead to immune disorders, circulatory problems and, as a result of cell destruction, to anemia. Type II, the immune complex reaction, can lead to inflammation in the joints and organs over the course of a few days.

This can lead to vascular inflammation and organ damage. Typical sequelae are serum sickness and bird husbandry lung. Type IV, the late-type allergy, causes similar complications. There is also an increased risk of severe rashes, disorders of the nervous system and the development of new allergies, which can worsen over time. Regardless of the type, the actual allergy also leads to a variety of complications.

When should you go to the doctor?

When an allergy occurs for the first time, a doctor should clarify the exact cause. The medical professional can diagnose the allergen using an allergy test and suggest appropriate treatment options. Most allergies are treatable with allergy medication and avoidance of the triggering substance.

If symptoms persist, a doctor must check whether other therapy methods or preparations are more suitable. In the case of acute symptoms that last longer than two to three days or get worse during the day, you should see a doctor immediately.

This is especially true for children and people with weakened immune systems. Pregnant women and patients with previous illnesses of the nervous system should consult a doctor regularly if they have an allergy. In the event of a severe allergic reaction (anaphylactic shock), an emergency doctor must be consulted.

Accompanying this, first-aid measures must be taken. After the initial treatment, the allergy must be diagnosed and the medication adjusted if necessary. Occupational allergies require rapid clarification simply because of the risk of accidents. The treatment can be paid for by the statutory accident insurance.

Treatment & Therapy

Important conclusions for the prevention and treatment of allergic diseases could be drawn from the scientifically researched connections between the cerebrum, the vegetative switching points in the diencephalon and the triggering of allergic reactions.

Although in many cases the doctor cannot do without antiallergics , antiasthmatics or adrenal hormone preparations, he will always consider the influence of central nervous regulations that can change the permeability of the vessels or constrict the bronchi spasmodically.

By eliminating harmful psychological influences, it may be possible to prevent mental and physical stress, anxiety and shortness of breath from triggering an asthma attack. The knowledge of these physical-emotional connections takes away the fear of the attack from the affected person and thus often saves him or her from the attack itself.

Similar prophylactic educational methods have also made it possible for us to take away the fear of birth in pregnant women and thus to alleviate pain during the birth process .

This prophylaxis should also include physical relaxation through breathing exercises and remedial gymnastics. If necessary, patients can learn exercises for self-relaxation. Such exercises can also be carried out successfully in groups. Children of parents with asthma should be given prophylactic relaxation gymnastics at an early age, so that they do not copy the complaints of the sick father or the suffering mother and adopt them as “exemplary”.

The mechanism of origin and course of allergic diseases show us with penetrating clarity the close connection and the mutual influence of a hypersensitively reacting defense mechanism with the respective state of excitation and the regulatory processes in the central nervous system. Most people suffering from allergies are still ignorant of the connections and therefore often do not understand the recommendations of the doctor treating them.

Many a patient simply does not understand why they are not prescribed medication, even if this measure is completely correct from a medical point of view. Possibly he visits another doctor who, out of ignorance about his overall clinical picture, sends him to the pharmacy with a prescription and thus acts more badly than right.

Outlook & Forecast

An allergy can have a very negative impact on the life of the person affected. As a rule, this significantly restricts the everyday life of the patient. Contact or ingestion of the allergen often leads to shortness of breath, rashes or other symptoms. In many cases, the signs and symptoms are relatively different and differ in each patient.

If contact with the allergens is not avoided, the internal organs and vessels can also be damaged, resulting in a significantly reduced life expectancy for those affected.

Direct treatment of an allergy is usually not possible. In some cases, the pain and symptoms can be reduced with the help of medication. Sensitization of those affected is also possible. If the patient avoids contact with the allergen and otherwise does not expose himself to any particular dangers from the allergy, there is usually no reduced life expectancy.

aftercare

In the case of complaints or illnesses that affect an allergy and the nervous system, the aftercare measures are in most cases severely limited, with the person concerned primarily being dependent on early detection and further treatment of these complaints.

The further course and the exact possible measures of aftercare depend very much on the exact disease, so that no general prediction can be made. In most cases, such diseases or conditions do not reduce the life expectancy of the person affected if they are recognized and treated early.

The affected person should primarily avoid the triggering substances or substances and foods that are responsible for the allergy. Alternative materials can be used. If these are medicinal products, one medication can be discontinued or replaced by another after consultation with a doctor.

It is not uncommon for medication to be taken that can significantly alleviate or completely eliminate the symptoms of an allergy. Such drugs should be taken regularly and in the correct dosage. Contact with other people affected can also be useful, as this often leads to an exchange of information.

You can do that yourself

Those who know their body and the substances that trigger allergic reactions must avoid them. To a limited extent, however, the nervous system can also be supported and strengthened in such a way that allergies do not appear at all or only slightly. This includes taking high-dose calcium tablets or beta-carotene for sun allergies.

Stressful situations show how the central nervous system is jointly responsible for allergic reactions . Then there are sudden reflexes, also known as “nervous reactions”. Then stress is largely avoided and rest periods are used more often. Stress at work often manifests itself in the form of everything from itchy skin rashes to asthma attacks. Then it is not an allergen that is the trigger, but the overload at work or in the family.

In his test with dogs, Pavlov showed how certain ideas trigger a reflex in the central nervous system. In his dogs, it was the flow of saliva that showed up in connection with certain noises. This is also the case with allergies that manifest themselves in connection with the nervous system. People who have suffered from hay fever or itching for many years could therefore also be cured if they change jobs, for example.

Lisa Newlon
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Hello! I am Lisa Newlon, and I am a medical writer and researcher with over 10 years of experience in the healthcare industry. I have a Master’s degree in Medicine, and my deep understanding of medical terminology, practices, and procedures has made me a trusted source of information in the medical world.