Posted on Jan 06, 2019, 10 p.m.
According to a study conducted by Northwestern University and Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago published in JAMA Network Open 1 in 10 American adults have a food allergy but 1 in 5 think they do.
10% of American adults are estimated to have a true food allergy, however researchers found that over 19% of American adults thinks they are allergic to certain foods even though their reported symptoms are inconsistent with a true food allergy in a study with results based on a nationally representative survey of over 40,000 American adults.
Seeing a physician for appropriate testing and diagnosis is important before eliminating some foods from the diet; if an allergy is confirmed understanding management is critical which includes recognizing symptoms of anaphylaxis and how/when to use epinephrine.
Only half of the adults who reported to have a convincing food allergy were found to have had a physician confirmed diagnosis, less than 25% report having a current epinephrine prescription. The researchers were surprised to find that nearly half of the food allergic adults developed at least one of their reported food allergies as an adult, and suggest more research is required to understand why this is occurring and how to prevent it.
The most prevalent food allergens among American adults were found to be shellfish which affects an estimated 7.2 million; milk affecting 4.7 million; peanuts affecting 4.5 million; tree nuts affecting 3 million; fin fish affecting 2.2 million; eggs affecting 2 million; soy affecting 1.5 million; and sesame affecting .5 million.
According to Dr. Ruchi Gupta, MD, MPH, data suggests shellfish is the top adult food allergen that commonly begins in adulthood which is remarkably common in adulthood, and more studies are needed to clarify why shellfish allergy appears to be so common and persistent among American adults.
Materials provided by Ann & Robert H. Lurie Children's Hospital of Chicago.
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