Allergies develop after a foreign protein (allergen) enters our body and is recognized as a threat by our immune defenses resulting in an allergic reaction. In different individuals, allergens may or may not result in an immune reaction. Once your immune system recognizes the allergen as a threat after first exposure, immune cells will form immunoglobulin E (IgE antibody), called sensitization. Upon re-exposure, the previously formed immunoglobulin E antibodies will bind to immune cells called mast cells and induce a release of histamine which will result in a symptomatic reaction. Mast cells reside in membranes covering the entire gastrointestinal tract, skin, and respiratory tract, explaining how various symptoms can develop during an allergic reaction. It is an important topic of discussion as the prevalence of allergen sensitization affect 40% of the population worldwide.
Category: Autoimmune Diseases
Ulcerative colitis (UC), like Crohn's disease, is a chronic condition in which our immune cells target cells of our digestive tract. Unlike Crohn’s which affects the entire digestive tract (mouth to anus), UC begins in the rectum (connecting segment of the large intestine to the anus) and may affect the entire colon (large intestine). UC affects 0.005-0.5% of individuals per year.
Crohn's also known as regional enteritis, presents as an inflammatory bowel disease (IBD) resulting in chronic inflammation from mouth to anus. The disease progresses in "patches" meaning the areas of inflammation aren't continuous. Crohn's affects approximately 0.1-0.3% of the population. The exact cause of the illness is unknown, but several factors such as heredity and immune activation by a bacterium or virus have been proposed in the development of IBD.
Celiac disease is known by many names such as gluten sensitivity enteropathy, celiac sprue, and nontropical sprue. This chronic illness presents as an auto-immune reaction in which our immune cells attack tissues of the small intestine when we consume gluten thus, resulting in poor nutrient absorption. Worldwide prevalence based on blood tests is 1.4% while 0.7% is based on biopsy. The disease has been associated with heredity, certain genetic mutations predispose patients to develop the illness.