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Allergy +Mental Health


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Allergy +Mental Health


Allergy is a complicated disease suffered by everyone more or less everywhere in the world. So we must take care of our triple Health based on "Total Health Solution" to prevent all sorts of Allergies for the Greater interest of the world & Humankind including environmental safety.


Allergy is a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system.[1] Allergic reactions occur to normally harmless environmental substances known as allergens; these reactions are acquired, predictable, and rapid. Strictly, allergy is one of four forms of hypersensitivity and is called type I (or immediate) hypersensitivity. It is characterized by excessive activation of certain white blood cells called mast cells and basophils by a type of antibody known as IgE, resulting in an extreme inflammatory response. Common allergic reactions include eczema, hives, hay fever, asthma attacks, food allergies, and reactions to the venom of stinging insects such as wasps and bees.[2]

Mild allergies like hay fever are highly prevalent in the human population and cause symptoms such as allergic conjunctivitis, itchiness, and runny nose. Allergies can play a major role in conditions such as asthma. In some people, severe allergies to environmental or dietary allergens or to medication may result in life-threatening anaphylactic reactions.

  • A variety of tests now exist to diagnose allergic conditions; these include testing the skin for responses to known allergens or analyzing the blood for the presence and levels of allergen-specific IgE. Treatments for allergies include allergen avoidance, use of anti-histamines, steroids, or other oral medications, immunotherapy to desensitize the response to allergen, and targeted therapy.

Signs and symptoms

Common symptoms of allergy

Affected organ



swelling of the nasal mucosa (allergic rhinitis)


allergic sinusitis


redness and itching of the conjunctiva (allergic conjunctivitis)


Sneezing, coughing, bronchoconstriction, wheezing and dyspnea, sometimes outright attacks of asthma, in severe cases the airway constricts due to swelling known as laryngeal edema


feeling of fullness, possibly pain, and impaired hearing due to the lack of eustachian tube drainage.


rashes, such as eczema and hives (urticaria)

Gastrointestinal tract

abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, diarrhea

Many allergens such as dust or pollen are airborne particles. In these cases, symptoms arise in areas in contact with air, such as eyes, nose, and lungs. For instance, allergic rhinitis, also known as hay fever, causes irritation of the nose, sneezing, itching, and redness of the eyes.[3] Inhaled allergens can also lead to asthmatic symptoms, caused by narrowing of the airways (bronchoconstriction) and increased production of mucus in the lungs, shortness of breath (dyspnea), coughing and wheezing.[4]

Aside from these ambient allergens, allergic reactions can result from foods, insect stings, and reactions to medications like aspirin and antibiotics such as penicillin. Symptoms of food allergy include abdominal pain, bloating, vomiting, diarrhea, itchy skin, and swelling of the skin during hives. Food allergies rarely cause respiratory (asthmatic) reactions, or rhinitis.[5] Insect stings, antibiotics, and certain medicines produce a systemic allergic response that is also called anaphylaxis; multiple organ systems can be affected, including the digestive system, the respiratory system, and the circulatory system.[6][7][8] Depending on the rate of severity, it can cause cutaneous reactions, bronchoconstriction, edema, hypotension, coma, and even death. This type of reaction can be triggered suddenly, or the onset can be delayed. The severity of this type of allergic response often requires injections of epinephrine, sometimes through a device known as the EpiPen or Twinject auto-injector. The nature of anaphylaxis is such that the reaction can seem to be subsiding, but may recur throughout a prolonged period of time.[8]

Substances that come into contact with the skin, such as latex, are also common causes of allergic reactions, known as contact dermatitis or eczema.[9] Skin allergies frequently cause rashes, or swelling and inflammation within the skin, in what is known as a "wheal and flare" reaction characteristic of hives and angioedema.[10]


Risk factors for allergy can be placed in two general categories, namely host and environmental factors.[11] Host factors include heredity, gender, race, and age, with heredity being by far the most significant. However, there have been recent increases in the incidence of allergic disorders that cannot be explained by genetic factors alone. Four major environmental candidates are alterations in exposure to infectious diseases during early childhood, environmental pollution, allergen levels, and dietary changes.[12]


One of the most common food allergies is a sensitivity to peanuts. Peanut allergies may be extremely severe, but can sometimes be outgrown by children school-age.[13] Tree nuts, including pecans, pistachios, pine nuts, and walnuts, are another common allergen. Sufferers may be sensitive to one, or many, tree nuts.[14] Also seeds, including sesame seeds and poppy seeds, contain oils where protein is present, which may elicit an allergic reaction.[14]

Egg allergies affect one to two percent of children but are outgrown by about two-thirds of children by the age of 5.[15] The sensitivity is usually to proteins in the white rather than the yolk.[14]

Milk, from cows, goats, or sheep, is another common allergy-causing food, and many sufferers are also unable to tolerate dairy products such as cheese. Lactose intolerance, a common reaction to milk, is not in fact a form of allergy. A small portion of children with a milk allergy, roughly ten percent, will have a reaction to beef. Beef contains a small amount of protein that is present in cow's milk.[16]

Other foods containing allergenic proteins include soy, wheat, fish, shellfish, fruits, vegetables, spices, synthetic and natural colors, chicken, and chemical additives.[citation needed]

Non-food proteins

Latex can trigger an IgE-mediated cutaneous, respiratory, and systemic reaction. The prevalence of latex allergy in the general population is believed to be less than one percent. In a hospital study, one in 800 surgical patients (0.125 percent) report latex sensitivity, although the sensitivity among healthcare workers is higher, between seven and ten percent. Researchers attribute this higher level to the exposure of healthcare workers to areas with significant airborne latex allergens, such as operating rooms, intensive-care units, and dental suites. These latex-rich environments may sensitize healthcare workers who regularly inhale allergenic proteins.[17]

The most prevalent response to latex is an allergic contact dermatitis, a delayed hypersensitive reaction appearing as dry, crusted lesions. This reaction usually lasts 48 to 96 hours. Sweating or rubbing the area under the glove aggravates the lesions, possibly leading to ulcerations.[17] Anaphylactic reactions occur most often in sensitive patients, who have been exposed to the surgeon's latex gloves during abdominal surgery, but other mucosal exposures, such as dental procedures, can also produce systemic reactions.[17]

Latex and banana sensitivity may cross-react; furthermore, patients with latex allergy may also have sensitivities to avocado, kiwifruit, and chestnut.[18] These patients often have perioral itching and local urticaria. Only occasionally have these food-induced allergies induced systemic responses. Researchers suspect that the cross-reactivity of latex with banana, avocado, kiwifruit, and chestnut occurs because latex proteins are structurally homologous with some plant proteins.[17]

Toxins interacting with proteins

Another non-food protein reaction, urushiol-induced contact dermatitis, originates after contact with poison ivy, eastern poison oak, western poison oak, or poison sumac. Urushiol, which is not itself a protein, acts as a hapten and chemically reacts with, binds to, and changes the shape of integral membrane proteins on exposed skin cells. The immune system does not recognize the affected cells as normal parts of the body, causing a T-cell-mediated immune response.[19] Of these poisonous plants, sumac is the most virulent.[20] The resulting dermatological response to the reaction between urushiol and membrane proteins includes redness, swelling, papules, vesicles, blisters, and streaking.[21]

Estimates vary on the percentage of the population that will have an immune system response. Approximately 25 percent of the population will have a strong allergic response to urushiol. In general, approximately 80 percent to 90 percent of adults will develop a rash if they are exposed to .0050 milligrams (7.7×10−5 gr) of purified urushiol, but some people are so sensitive that it takes only a molecular trace on the skin to initiate an allergic reaction.[22]

Genetic basis

Allergic diseases are strongly familial: identical twins are likely to have the same allergic diseases about 70% of the time; the same allergy occurs about 40% of the time in non-identical twins.[23] Allergic parents are more likely to have allergic children,[24] and their allergies are likely to be more severe than those from non-allergic parents. Some allergies, however, are not consistent along genealogies; parents who are allergic to peanuts may have children who are allergic to ragweed. It seems that the likelihood of developing allergies is inherited and related to an irregularity in the immune system, but the specific allergen is not.[24]

The risk of allergic sensitization and the development of allergies varies with age, with young children most at risk.[25] Several studies have shown that IgE levels are highest in childhood and fall rapidly between the ages of 10 and 30 years.[25] The peak prevalence of hay fever is highest in children and young adults and the incidence of asthma is highest in children under 10.[26] Overall, boys have a higher risk of developing allergy than girls,[24] although for some diseases, namely asthma in young adults, females are more likely to be affected.[27] Sex differences tend to decrease in adulthood.[24] Ethnicity may play a role in some allergies; however, racial factors have been difficult to separate from environmental influences and changes due to migration.[24] It has been suggested that different genetic loci are responsible for asthma, to be specific, in people of European, Hispanic, Asian, and African origins.[28]

Hygiene hypothesis

Allergic diseases are caused by inappropriate immunological responses to harmless antigens driven by a TH2-mediated immune response. Many bacteria and viruses elicit a TH1-mediated immune response, which down-regulates TH2 responses. The first proposed mechanism of action of the hygiene hypothesis stated that insufficient stimulation of the TH1 arm of the immune system lead to an overactive TH2 arm, which in turn led to allergic disease.[29] In other words, individuals living in too sterile an environment are not exposed to enough pathogens to keep the immune system busy. Since our bodies evolved to deal with a certain level of such pathogens, when it is not exposed to this level, the immune system will attack harmless antigens and thus normally benign microbial objects — like pollen — will trigger an immune response.[30]

The hygiene hypothesis was developed to explain the observation that hay fever and eczema, both allergic diseases, were less common in children from larger families, which were, it is presumed, exposed to more infectious agents through their siblings, than in children from families with only one child. The hygiene hypothesis has been extensively investigated by immunologists and epidemiologists and has become an important theoretical framework for the study of allergic disorders. It is used to explain the increase in allergic diseases that have been seen since industrialization, and the higher incidence of allergic diseases in more developed countries. The hygiene hypothesis has now expanded to include exposure to symbiotic bacteria and parasites as important modulators of immune system development, along with infectious agents.

Epidemiological data support the hygiene hypothesis. Studies have shown that various immunological and autoimmune diseases are much less common in the developing world than the industrialized world and that immigrants to the industrialized world from the developing world increasingly develop immunological disorders in relation to the length of time since arrival in the industrialized world.[31] Longitudinal studies in the third world demonstrate an increase in immunological disorders as a country grows more affluent and, it is presumed, cleaner.[32] The use of antibiotics in the first year of life has been linked to asthma and other allergic diseases.[33] The use of antibacterial cleaning products has also been associated with higher incidence of asthma, as has birth by Caesarean section rather than vaginal birth.[34][35]

Other environmental factors

International differences have been associated with the number of individuals within a population that suffer from allergy. Allergic diseases are more common in industrialized countries than in countries that are more traditional or agricultural, and there is a higher rate of allergic disease in urban populations versus rural populations, although these differences are becoming less defined.[36]

Exposure to allergens, especially in early life, is an important risk factor for allergy. Alterations in exposure to microorganisms is another plausible explanation, at present, for the increase in atopic allergy.[12] Endotoxin exposure reduces release of inflammatory cytokines such as TNF-α, IFNγ, interleukin-10, and interleukin-12 from white blood cells (leukocytes) that circulate in the blood.[37] Certain microbe-sensing proteins, known as Toll-like receptors, found on the surface of cells in the body are also thought to be involved in these processes.[38]

Gutworms and similar parasites are present in untreated drinking water in developing countries, and were present in the water of developed countries until the routine chlorination and purification of drinking water supplies.[39] Recent research has shown that some common parasites, such as intestinal worms (e.g., hookworms), secrete chemicals into the gut wall (and, hence, the bloodstream) that suppress the immune system and prevent the body from attacking the parasite.[40] This gives rise to a new slant on the hygiene hypothesis theory — that co-evolution of man and parasites has led to an immune system that functions correctly only in the presence of the parasites. Without them, the immune system becomes unbalanced and oversensitive.[41] In particular, research suggests that allergies may coincide with the delayed establishment of gut flora in infants.[42] However, the research to support this theory is conflicting, with some studies performed in China and Ethiopia showing an increase in allergy in people infected with intestinal worms.[36] Clinical trials have been initiated to test the effectiveness of certain worms in treating some allergies.[43] It may be that the term 'parasite' could turn out to be inappropriate, and in fact a hitherto unsuspected symbiosis is at work.[43] For more information on this topic, see Helminthic therapy.

Acute response

Degranulation process in allergy. Second exposure to allergen.1 - antigen; 2 - IgE antibody; 3 - FcεRI receptor; 4 - preformed mediators (histamine, proteases, chemokines, heparine); 5 - granules; 6 - mast cell; 7 - newly formed mediators (prostaglandins, leukotrienes, thromboxanes, PAF)

In the early stages of allergy, a type I hypersensitivity reaction against an allergen encountered for the first time and presented by a professional Antigen-Presenting Cell causes a response in a type of immune cell called a TH2 lymphocyte, which belongs to a subset of T cells that produce a cytokine called interleukin-4 (IL-4). These TH2 cells interact with other lymphocytes called B cells, whose role is production of antibodies. Coupled with signals provided by IL-4, this interaction stimulates the B cell to begin production of a large amount of a particular type of antibody known as IgE. Secreted IgE circulates in the blood and binds to an IgE-specific receptor (a kind of Fc receptor called FcεRI) on the surface of other kinds of immune cells called mast cells and basophils, which are both involved in the acute inflammatory response. The IgE-coated cells, at this stage are sensitized to the allergen.[12]

If later exposure to the same allergen occurs, the allergen can bind to the IgE molecules held on the surface of the mast cells or basophils. Cross-linking of the IgE and Fc receptors occurs when more than one IgE-receptor complex interacts with the same allergenic molecule, and activates the sensitized cell. Activated mast cells and basophils undergo a process called degranulation, during which they release histamine and other inflammatory chemical mediators (cytokines, interleukins, leukotrienes, and prostaglandins) from their granules into the surrounding tissue causing several systemic effects, such as vasodilation, mucous secretion, nerve stimulation, and smooth muscle contraction. This results in rhinorrhea, itchiness, dyspnea, and anaphylaxis. Depending on the individual, allergen, and mode of introduction, the symptoms can be system-wide (classical anaphylaxis), or localized to particular body systems; asthma is localized to the respiratory system and eczema is localized to the dermis.[12]

Late-phase response

After the chemical mediators of the acute response subside, late phase responses can often occur. This is due to the migration of other leukocytes such as neutrophils, lymphocytes, eosinophils and macrophages to the initial site. The reaction is usually seen 2–24 hours after the original reaction.[44] Cytokines from mast cells may also play a role in the persistence of long-term effects. Late phase responses seen in asthma are slightly different from those seen in other allergic responses, although they are still caused by release of mediators from eosinophils, and are still dependent on activity of TH2 cells.[45]

Diagnosis allergy testing machine being operated in the diagnostic immunology lab at Lackland Air Force Base

Before a diagnosis of allergic disease can be confirmed, the other possible causes of the presenting symptoms should be carefully considered.[46] Vasomotor rhinitis, for example, is one of many maladies that shares symptoms with allergic rhinitis, underscoring the need for professional differential diagnosis.[47] Once a diagnosis of asthma, rhinitis, anaphylaxis, or other allergic disease has been made, there are several methods for discovering the causative agent of that allergy.

Skin testing testing on arm

Skin testing on back

For assessing the presence of allergen-specific IgE antibodies, allergy skin testing is preferred over blood allergy tests because it is more sensitive and specific, simpler to use, and less expensive.[48] Skin testing is also known as "puncture testing" and "prick testing" due to the series of tiny puncture or pricks made into the patient's skin. Small amounts of suspected allergens and/or their extracts (pollen, grass, mite proteins, peanut extract, etc.) are introduced to sites on the skin marked with pen or dye (the ink/dye should be carefully selected, lest it cause an allergic response itself). A small plastic or metal device is used to puncture or prick the skin. Sometimes, the allergens are injected "intradermally" into the patient's skin, with a needle and syringe. Common areas for testing include the inside forearm and the back. If the patient is allergic to the substance, then a visible inflammatory reaction will usually occur within 30 minutes. This response will range from slight reddening of the skin to a full-blown hive (called "wheal and flare") in more sensitive patients similar to a mosquito bite. Interpretation of the results of the skin prick test is normally done by allergists on a scale of severity, with +/- meaning borderline reactivity, and 4+ being a large reaction. Increasingly, allergists are measuring and recording the diameter of the wheal and flare reaction. Interpretation by well-trained allergists is often guided by relevant literature.[49] Some patients may believe they have determined their own allergic sensitivity from observation, but a skin test has been shown to be much better than patient observation to detect allergy.[50]

If a serious life threatening anaphylactic reaction has brought a patient in for evaluation, some allergists will prefer an initial blood test prior to performing the skin prick test. Skin tests may not be an option if the patient has widespread skin disease or has taken antihistamines sometime the last several days.

Blood testing

Various blood allergy testing methods are also available for detecting allergy to specific substances. This kind of testing measures a "total IgE level" - an estimate of IgE contained within the patient's serum. This can be determined through the use of radiometric and colormetric immunoassays. Radiometric assays include the radioallergosorbent test (RAST) test method, which uses IgE-binding (anti-IgE) antibodies labeled with radioactive isotopes for quantifying the levels of IgE antibody in the blood.[48] Other newer methods use colorimetric or fluorometric technology in the place of radioactive isotopes. Some "screening" test methods are intended to provide qualitative test results, giving a "yes" or "no" answer in patients with suspected allergic sensitization. One such method has a sensitivity of about 70.8% and a positive predictive value of 72.6% according to a large study.[51]

A low total IgE level is not adequate to rule out sensitization to commonly inhaled allergens.[52] Statistical methods, such as ROC curves, predictive value calculations, and likelihood ratios have been used to examine the relationship of various testing methods to each other. These methods have shown that patients with a high total IgE have a high probability of allergic sensitization, but further investigation with specific allergy tests for a carefully chosen allergens is often warranted.


Challenge testing: Challenge testing is when small amounts of a suspected allergen are introduced to the body orally, through inhalation, or other routes. Except for testing food and medication allergies, challenges are rarely performed. When this type of testing is chosen, it must be closely supervised by an allergist.

Elimination/Challenge tests: This testing method is utilized most often with foods or medicines. A patient with a particular suspected allergen is instructed to modify his/her diet to totally avoid that allergen for determined period of time. If the patient experiences significant improvement, he/she may then be “challenged” by reintroducing the allergen to see if symptoms can be reproduced.

Patch testing: Patch testing is used to help ascertain the cause of skin contact allergy, or contact dermatitis. Adhesive patches, usually treated with a number of different commonly allergic chemicals or skin sensitizers, are applied to the back. The skin is then examined for possible local reactions at least twice, usually at 48 hours after application of the patch, and again two or three days later.

Unreliable tests: There are other types of allergy testing methods that the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology considers to be unacceptable.

These unreliable allergy testing methods are:

Applied kinesiology (allergy testing through muscle relaxation), Cytotoxicity testing, Urine autoinjection, Skin titration (Rinkel method), and Provocative and neutralization (subcutaneous) testing or sublingual provocation[53]


In recent times, there have been enormous improvements in the medical practices used to treat allergic conditions. With respect to anaphylaxis and hypersensitivity reactions to foods, drugs, and insects and in allergic skin diseases, advances have included the identification of food proteins to which IgE binding is associated with severe reactions and development of low-allergen foods, improvements in skin prick test predictions; evaluation of the atopy patch test; in wasp sting outcomes predictions and a rapidly disintegrating epinephrine tablet, and anti-IL-5 for eosinophilic diseases.[54]

Traditional treatment and management of allergies consisted simply of avoiding the allergen in question or otherwise reducing exposure. For instance, people with cat allergies were encouraged to avoid them. However, while avoidance of allergens may reduce symptoms and avoid life-threatening anaphylaxis, it is difficult to achieve for those with pollen or similar air-borne allergies. Nonetheless, strict avoidance of allergens is still considered a useful treatment method, and is often used in managing food allergies.

New technology approaches to decreasing 1gE overproduction, and regulating histimine release in allergic individuals have demonstrated statisitically significant reduction on Total Nasel Symptom Scores.[55][56]


Several antagonistic drugs are used to block the action of allergic mediators, or to prevent activation of cells and degranulation processes. These include antihistamines, glucocorticoids, epinephrine (adrenaline), theophylline and cromolyn sodium. Anti-leukotrienes, such as Montelukast (Singulair) or Zafirlukast (Accolate), are FDA approved for treatment of allergic diseases.[citation needed] Anti-cholinergics, decongestants, mast cell stabilizers, and other compounds thought to impair eosinophil chemotaxis, are also commonly used. These drugs help to alleviate the symptoms of allergy, and are imperative in the recovery of acute anaphylaxis, but play little role in chronic treatment of allergic disorders.


Desensitization or hyposensitization is a treatment in which the patient is gradually vaccinated with progressively larger doses of the allergen in question. This can either reduce the severity or eliminate hypersensitivity altogether. It relies on the progressive skewing of IgG antibody production, to block excessive IgE production seen in atopys. In a sense, the person builds up immunity to increasing amounts of the allergen in question. Studies have demonstrated the long-term efficacy and the preventive effect of immunotherapy in reducing the development of new allergy.[57] Meta-analyses have also confirmed efficacy of the treatment in allergic rhinitis in children and in asthma.[citation needed] A review by the Mayo Clinic in Rochester confirmed the safety and efficacy of allergen immunotherapy for allergic rhinitis and conjunctivitis, allergic forms of asthma, and stinging insect based on numerous well-designed scientific studies.[58] In addition, national and international guidelines confirm the clinical efficacy of injection immunotherapy in rhinitis and asthma, as well as the safety, provided that recommendations are followed.[59]

A second form of immunotherapy involves the intravenous injection of monoclonal anti-IgE antibodies. These bind to free and B-cell associated IgE; signalling their destruction. They do not bind to IgE already bound to the Fc receptor on basophils and mast cells, as this would stimulate the allergic inflammatory response. The first agent of this class is Omalizumab. While this form of immunotherapy is very effective in treating several types of atopy, it should not be used in treating the majority of people with food allergies.[citation needed]

A third type, Sublingual immunotherapy, is an orally-administered therapy that takes advantage of oral immune tolerance to non-pathogenic antigens such as foods and resident bacteria. This therapy currently accounts for 40 percent of allergy treatment in Europe.[citation needed] In the United States, sublingual immunotherapy is gaining support among traditional allergists and is endorsed by doctors treating allergy.[citation needed]

Allergy shot treatment is the closest thing to a ‘cure’ for allergic symptoms. This therapy requires a long-term commitment.

Unproven and ineffective treatments

An experimental treatment, enzyme potentiated desensitization (EPD), has been tried for decades but is not generally accepted as effective.[60] EPD uses dilutions of allergen and an enzyme, beta-glucuronidase, to which T-regulatory lymphocytes are supposed to respond by favouring desensitization, or down-regulation, rather than sensitization. EPD has also been tried for the treatment of autoimmune diseases but is not approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration or of proven effectiveness.[60]

Systematic literature searches conducted by the Mayo Clinic through 2006, involving hundreds of articles studying multiple conditions, including asthma and upper respiratory tract infection, showed no effectiveness of homeopathic treatments and no difference compared with placebo. The authors concluded that, based on rigorous clinical trials of all types of homeopathy for childhood and adolescence ailments, there is no convincing evidence that supports the use of homeopathic treatments.[61]


Many diseases related to inflammation such as type 1 diabetes, rheumatoid arthritis, and allergic diseases — hay fever and asthma — have increased in the Western world over the past 2-3 decades.[62] Rapid increases in allergic asthma and other atopic disorders in industrialized nations, it is estimated, began in the 1960s and 1970s, with further increases occurring during the 1980s and 1990s,[63] although some suggest that a steady rise in sensitization has been occurring since the 1920s.[64] The incidence of atopy in developing countries has, in general, remained much lower.[63]

Allergic conditions: Statistics and Epidemiology

Allergy type

United States

United Kingdom[65]

Allergic rhinitis

35.9 million[66] (about 11% of the population[67])

3.3 million (about 5.5% of the population[68])


10 million suffer from allergic asthma (about 3% of the population). The prevalence of asthma increased 75% from 1980-1994. Asthma prevalence is 39% higher in African Americans than in Europeans.[69]

5.7 million (about 9.4%). In six and seven year olds asthma increased from 18.4% to 20.9% over five years, during the same time the rate decreased from 31% to 24.7% in 13 to 14 year olds.

Atopic eczema

About 9% of the population. Between 1960 and 1990 prevalence has increased from 3% to 10% in children.[70]

5.8 million (about 1% severe).


At least 40 deaths per year due to insect venom. About 400 deaths due to penicillin anaphylaxis. About 220 cases of anaphylaxis and 3 deaths per year are due to latex allergy.[71] An estimated 150 people die annually from anaphylaxis due to food allergy.[72]

Between 1999 and 2006, 48 deaths occurred in people ranging from five months to 85 years old.

Insect venom

Around 15% of adults have mild, localized allergic reactions. Systemic reactions occur in 3% of adults and less than 1% of children.[73]


Drug allergies

Anaphylactic reactions to penicillin cause 400 deaths per year.


Food allergies

About 6% of US children under age 3 and 3.5-4% of the overall US population.[citation needed] Peanut and/or tree nut (e.g. walnut) allergy affects about three million Americans, or 1.1% of the population.[72]

5-7% of infants and 1-2% of adults. A 117.3% increase in peanut allergies was observed from 2001 to 2005, an estimated 25,700 people in England are affected.

Multiple allergies (Asthma, eczema and allergic rhinitis together)


2.3 million (about 3.7%), prevalence has increased by 48.9% between 2001 and 2005.[74]

Although genetic factors fundamentally govern susceptibility to atopic disease, increases in atopy have occurred within too short a time frame to be explained by a genetic change in the population, thus pointing to environmental or lifestyle changes.[63] Several hypotheses have been identified to explain this increased prevalence; increased exposure to perennial allergens due to housing changes and increasing time spent indoors, and changes in cleanliness or hygiene that have resulted in the decreased activation of a common immune control mechanism, coupled with dietary changes, obesity and decline in physical exercise.[62] The hygiene hypothesis maintains[75] that high living standards and hygienic conditions exposes children to fewer infections. It is thought that reduced bacterial and viral infections early in life direct the maturing immune system away from TH1 type responses, leading to unrestrained TH2 responses that allow for an increase in allergy.[41][76]

Changes in rates and types of infection alone however, have been unable to explain the observed increase in allergic disease, and recent evidence has focused attention on the importance of the gastrointestinal microbial environment. Evidence has shown that exposure to food and fecal-oral pathogens, such as hepatitis A, Toxoplasma gondii, and Helicobacter pylori (which also tend to be more prevalent in developing countries), can reduce the overall risk of atopy by more than 60%,[77] and an increased prevalence of parasitic infections has been associated with a decreased prevalence of asthma.[78] It is speculated that these infections exert their effect by critically altering TH1/TH2 regulation.[79] Important elements of newer hygiene hypotheses also include exposure to endotoxins, exposure to pets and growing up on a farm.[79]


The concept of "allergy" was originally introduced in 1906 by the Viennese pediatrician Clemens von Pirquet, after he noted that some of his patients were hypersensitive to normally innocuous entities such as dust, pollen, or certain foods.[80] Pirquet called this phenomenon "allergy" from the Ancient Greek words λλος allos meaning "other" and ργον ergon meaning "work".[81] All forms of hypersensitivity used to be classified as allergies, and all were thought to be caused by an improper activation of the immune system. Later, it became clear that several different disease mechanisms were implicated, with the common link to a disordered activation of the immune system. In 1963, a new classification scheme was designed by Philip Gell and Robin Coombs that described four types of hypersensitivity reactions, known as Type I to Type IV hypersensitivity.[82] With this new classification, the word "allergy" was restricted to type I hypersensitivities (also called immediate hypersensitivity), which are characterized as rapidly developing reactions.

A major breakthrough in understanding the mechanisms of allergy was the discovery of the antibody class labeled immunoglobulin E (IgE) - Kimishige Ishizaka and co-workers were the first to isolate and describe IgE in the 1960s.[83]

Medical specialty

An allergist is a physician specially trained to manage and treat allergies, asthma and the other allergic diseases. In the United States physicians holding certification by the American Board of Allergy and Immunology (ABAI) have successfully completed an accredited educational program and an evaluation process, including a secure, proctored examination to demonstrate the knowledge, skills, and experience to the provision of patient care in allergy and immunology.[84] Becoming an allergist/immunologist requires completion of at least nine years of training. After completing medical school and graduating with a medical degree, a physician will then undergo three years of training in internal medicine (to become an internist) or pediatrics (to become a pediatrician). Once physicians have finished training in one of these specialties, they must pass the exam of either the American Board of Pediatrics (ABP) or the American Board of Internal Medicine (ABIM). Internists or pediatricians wishing to focus on the sub-specialty of allergy-immunology then complete at least an additional two years of study, called a fellowship, in an allergy/immunology training program. Allergist/immunologists listed as ABAI-certified have successfully passed the certifying examination of the American Board of Allergy and Immunology (ABAI), following their fellowship.[85]

In the United Kingdom, allergy is a subspecialty of general medicine or pediatrics. After obtaining postgraduate exams (MRCP or MRCPCH respectively), a doctor works for several years as a specialist registrar before qualifying for the General Medical Council specialist register. Allergy services may also be delivered by immunologists. A 2003 Royal College of Physicians report presented a case for improvement of what were felt to be inadequate allergy services in the UK.[86] In 2006, the House of Lords convened a subcommittee that reported in 2007. It concluded likewise that allergy services were insufficient to deal with what the Lords referred to as an "allergy epidemic" and its social cost; it made several other recommendations.[87]

See also--List of allergies--Allergic inflammation



Mental health describes either a level of cognitive or emotional well-being or an absence of a mental disorder.[1][2] From perspectives of the discipline of positive psychology or holism mental health may include an individual's ability to enjoy life and procure a balance between life activities and efforts to achieve psychological resilience.[1] Mental health is an expression of emotions and signifies a successful adaptation to a range of demands.

The World Health Organization defines mental health as "a state of well-being in which the individual realizes his or her own abilities, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and is able to make a contribution to his or her community".[3] It was previously stated that there was no one "official" definition of mental health. Cultural differences, subjective assessments, and competing professional theories all affect how "mental health" is defined.[4] There are different types of mental health problems, some of which are common, such as depression and anxiety disorders, and some not so common, such as schizophrenia and Bipolar disorder.[5]

  • Most recently, the field of Global Mental Health has emerged, which has been defined as 'the area of study, research and practice that places a priority on improving mental health and achieving equity in mental health for all people worldwide'.[6]

History: History of mental disorders

In the mid-19th century, William Sweetzer was the first to clearly define the term "mental hygiene", which can be seen as the precursor to contemporary approaches to work on promoting positive mental health.[7] Isaac Ray, one of thirteen founders of the American Psychiatric Association, further defined mental hygiene as an art to preserve the mind against incidents and influences which would inhibit or destroy its energy, quality or development.[7]

An important figure to "mental hygiene", would be Dorothea Dix (1808–1887), a school teacher, who had campaigned her whole life in order to help those suffering of a mental illness, and to bring to light the deplorable conditions which they were put it in.[8] This was known as the "mental hygiene movement".[8] Before this movement, it was not uncommon that people affected by mental illness in the 19th century would be considerably neglected, often left alone in deplorable conditions, barely even having sufficient clothing.[8] Dix's efforts were so great that there was a rise in the number of patients in mental health facilities, which sadly resulted in these patients receiving less attention and care, as these institutions were largely understaffed.[8]

At the beginning of the 20th century, Clifford Beers founded the National Committee for Mental Hygiene and opened the first outpatient mental health clinic in the United States of America.[7][9]


The importance of maintaining a good mental health is crucial to living a long and healthy life. Mental health when good can enhance, when poor prevent, someone from living a normal life. According to Richards, Campania, & Muse-Burke (2010) “There is growing evidence that is showing emotional abilities are associated with prosocial behaviors such as stress management and physical health” (2010). It was also concluded in their research that people who lack emotional expression lead to misfit behaviors. These behaviors are a direct reflection of their mental health. Self- destructive acts may take place to suppress emotions. Some of these acts include drug and alcohol abuse, physical fights or vandalism.[10] Also without emotional support, mental health is at risk. According to a study done by Strine, Chapman, Balluz and Mokdad, “Inadequate social and emotional support is a major barrier to health relevant to the practice of psychiatry and medicine, because it is associated with adverse health behaviors, dissatisfaction with life, and disability”[11] (2008, p. 154). By receiving emotional support your health can increase and prevent mental health disorders. Support systems are a valuable asset and those whom do not have social and emotional support are more likely to lead to disorders. This support can lead to “an increase personal competence, perceived control, sense of stability, and recognition of self- worth and can have a positive effect on quality of life”(Strine, Chapman, Balluz & Mokdad, 2008).

Signs and Symptoms of Emotional Mental Disorder

There are several signs and symptoms that indicate a mental disorder. According to Hertel, Schütz, & Lammers “ Some of the early symptoms of mental illness are related to emotional problems”[12] (2009). People who cannot modulate or express normal emotions encountered in daily life, are faced with such deficits. A study done by Hertel, Schütz, & Lammers tested three mental disorders which are a direct reflection of emotional abilities. “Major depressive disorder, borderline personality disorder, and substance abuse disorder were all associated with significant deficits to emotional abilities” (Hertel, Schütz & Lammers, 2009). Many people who feel as if they cannot express their emotions turn to other things for a temporary fix to avoid dealing with their emotions. This temporary fix can lead to more severe problems, often resulting in making the emotional health issue more severe. This is becoming extremely common in our society. Recent evidence from the World Health Organization indicates, “mental illness affects nearly half the population worldwide”[13] (Storrie, Ahern & Tuckett, 2010). Many of the people suffering from mental illness have issues functioning in everyday life. “Symptoms of mental illness and the associated stigma negatively affect people’s self-esteem, disrupt relationships and limit the ability to obtain housing, jobs and an education” (Storrie, Ahern & Tuckett, 2010).

Perspectives--Mental well-being

Mental health can be seen as a continuum, where an individual's mental health may have many different possible values.[14] Mental wellness is generally viewed as a positive attribute, such that a person can reach enhanced levels of mental health, even if the person does not have any diagnosed mental health condition. This definition of mental health highlights emotional well-being, the capacity to live a full and creative life, and the flexibility to deal with life's inevitable challenges.[citation needed] Many therapeutic systems and self-help books offer methods and philosophies espousing strategies and techniques vaunted as effective for further improving the mental wellness of otherwise healthy people. Positive psychology is increasingly prominent in mental health.

A holistic model of mental health generally includes concepts based upon anthropological, educational, psychological, religious and sociological perspectives, as well as theoretical perspectives from personality, social, clinical, health and developmental psychology.[15][16]

An example of a wellness model includes one developed by Myers, Sweeney and Witmer. It includes five life tasks—essence or spirituality, work and leisure, friendship, love and self-direction—and twelve sub tasks—sense of worth, sense of control, realistic beliefs, emotional awareness and coping, problem solving and creativity, sense of humor, nutrition, exercise, self care, stress management, gender identity, and cultural identity—which are identified as characteristics of healthy functioning and a major component of wellness. The components provide a means of responding to the circumstances of life in a manner that promotes healthy functioning. The population of the USA in its' majority is considered to be mostly uneducated on the subjects of mental health .[17]

Lack of a mental disorder: Mental disorder

Mental health can also be defined as an absence of a major mental health condition (for example, a condition diagnosed in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders for the U.S.A or the fifth chapter of the International Classification of Diseases and Related Health Problems ICD-10 Chapter V: Mental and behavioural disorders used in countries of the world other than the U.S.A) though recent evidence stemming from positive psychology (see above) suggests mental health is more than the mere absence of a mental disorder or illness. Quite simply, mental health refers to a persons health of the mind.[18] Therefore the impact of social, cultural, physical and education can all affect someone's mental health.[5]

Cultural and religious considerations

Mental health is a socially constructed and socially defined concept; that is, different societies, groups, cultures, institutions and professions have very different ways of conceptualizing its nature and causes, determining what is mentally healthy, and deciding what interventions, if any, are appropriate.[19] Thus, different professionals will have different cultural, class, political and religious backgrounds, which will impact the methodology applied during treatment.

Research has shown that there is stigma attached to mental illness.[20] In the United Kingdom, the Royal College of Psychiatrists organized the campaign Changing Minds (1998–2003) to help reduce stigma.[21]

Many mental health professionals are beginning to, or already understand, the importance of competency in religious diversity and spirituality. The American Psychological Association explicitly states that religion must be respected. Education in spiritual and religious matters is also required by the American Psychiatric Association.[22]

Emotional Mental Health in the United States of America

According to the World Health Organization in 2004, depression is the leading cause of disability in the United States of America for individuals ages 15 to 44[23] (Thomson, 2007). Absence from work in the U.S. due to depression is estimated to be in excess of $31 billion dollars per year (Thomson, 2007). Depression frequently co-occurs with a variety of medical illnesses such as heart disease, cancer, and chronic pain and is associated with poorer health status and prognosis[24] (Munce, 2007; Blumenthal et al., 2007, Moussavi, 2007). Each year, roughly 30,000 Americans take their lives, while hundreds of thousands make suicide attempts (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention).[25] In 2004, suicide was the 11th leading cause of death in the United States of America (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention), third among individuals ages 15–24 (Thomson, 2007). Despite the increasingly availability of effectual depression treatment, the level of unmet need for treatment remains high (Thomson, 2007). Reducing depression within the U.S. population has been an essential priority of governmental organizations over the last decade. Mental illness, disability, and suicide are ultimately the result of a combination of biology, environment, and access to and utilization of mental health treatment (Thomson, 2007). Public health policies can influence access and utilization, which subsequently may improve mental health and help to progress the negative consequences of depression and its associated disability (Thomson, 2007). Emotional mental illnesses should be a particular concern in the United States of America since the U.S.A has the highest annual prevalence rates (26 percent) for mental illnesses among a comparison of 14 developing and developed countries[26] (Demyttenaere et al, 2004). While approximately 80 percent of all people in the United States with a mental disorder eventually receive some form of treatment, on the average persons do not access care until nearly a decade following the development of their illness, and less than one-third of people who seek help receive minimally adequate care.[27] Research conducted by Mental Health America found the following factors to be considerably allied with improved depression status and lower suicide rates . “Mental health resources — On average, the higher the number of psychiatrists, psychologists, and social workers per capita in a state, the lower the suicide rate. Barriers to treatment — The lower the percentage of the population reporting that they could not obtain healthcare because of costs, the lower the suicide rate and the better the state’s depression status. In addition, the lower the percentage of the population that reported unmet mental healthcare needs, the better the state’s depression status. Mental health treatment utilization — holding the baseline level of depression in the state constant, the higher the number of antidepressant prescriptions per capita in the state, the lower the suicide rate. Socioeconomic characteristics — The more educated the population and the greater the percentage with health insurance, the lower the suicide rate. The more educated the population, the better the state’s depression status. Mental health policy — The more generous a state’s mental health parity coverage, the greater the number of people in the population that receive mental health services (Thomson, 2007).”

Emotional Mental Health Issues Across The World

Emotional mental disorders are a leading cause of disabilities worldwide. Investigating the degree and severity of untreated emotional mental disorders throughout the world is a top priority of the World Mental Health (WMH) survey initiative, which was created in 1998 by the World Health Organization (WHO).[28]Neuropsychiatric disorders are the leading causes of disability worldwide, accounting for 37% of all healthy life years lost through disease.” (Thornicroftt, 2007). These disorders are most destructive to low and middle-income countries due to their inability to provide their citizens with proper aid. Despite modern treatment and rehabilitation for emotional mental health disorders, “even economically advantaged societies have competing priorities and budgetary constraints” (Thornicroftt, 2007). The World Mental Health survey initiative has suggested a plan for countries to redesign their mental health care systems to best allocate resources. “A first step is documentation of services being used and the extent and nature of unmet needs for treatment. A second step could be to do a cross-national comparison of service use and unmet needs in countries with different mental health care systems. Such comparisons can help to uncover optimum financing, national policies, and delivery systems for mental health care.” (Thornicroftt, 2007). Knowledge of how to provide effective emotional mental health care has become imperative worldwide. Unfortunately, most countries have insufficient data to guide decisions, absent or competing visions for resources, and near constant pressures to cut insurance and entitlements.”(Thornicroftt, 2007). WMH surveys were done in Africa (Nigeria, South Africa), the Americas (Colombia, Mexico, U.S.A), Asia and the Pacific (Japan, New Zealand, Beijing and Shanghai in the Peoples Republic of China), Europe (Belgium, France, Germany, Italy, Netherlands, Spain, Ukraine), and the middle east (Israel, Lebanon). Countries were classified with World Bank criteria as low-income (Nigeria), lower middle-income (China, Columbia, South Africa, Ukraine), higher middle-income (Lebanon, Mexico), and high-income (all others) (Thornicroftt, 2007). The coordinated surveys on emotional mental health disorders, their severity, and treats were implemented in afore mentioned countries. These surveys assessed the frequency, types, and adequacy of mental health service use in 17 countries in which WMH surveys are complete. The WMH also examined unmet needs for treatment in strata defined by the seriousness of mental disorders. (Thornicroftt, 2007). Their research showed that “the number of respondents using any 12- month mental health service was generally lower in developing than in developed countries, and the proportion receiving services tended to correspond to countries’ percentages of gross domestic product spent on health care” (Thornicroftt, 2007). “High levels of unmet need worldwide are not surprising, since WHO Project ATLAS' findings of much lower mental health expenditures than was suggested by the magnitude of burdens from mental illnesses. Generally, unmet needs in low-income and middle-income countries might be attributable to these nations spending reduced amounts (usually <1%) of already diminished health budgets on mental health care, and they rely heavily on out-of-pocket spending by citizens who are ill equipped for it” (Thornicroftt, 2007).

Emotional mental health improvement

Being mentally and emotionally healthy does not exclude the experiences of life which we cannot control. As humans we are going to face emotions and events that are a part of life. According to Smith and Segal, “People who are emotionally and mentally healthy have the tools for coping with difficult situations and maintaining a positive outlook in which also remain focused, flexible, and creative in bad times as well as good”[29] (2011). People who are emotionally and mentally healthy have the tools for coping with difficult situations and maintaining a positive outlook. They remain focused, flexible, and creative in bad times as well as good. In order to improve your emotional mental health the root of the issue has to be resolved. “Prevention emphasizes the avoidance of risk factors; promotion aims to enhance an individual’s ability to achieve a positive sense of self-esteem, mastery, well-being, and social inclusion”[30] (Power, 2010). It is very important to improve your emotional mental health by surrounding yourself with positive relationships. We as humans, feed off companionships and interaction with other people. Another way to improve your emotional mental health is participating in activities that can allow you to relax and take time for yourself. Yoga is a great example of its meditating aspect which calms your entire body and nerves. According to a study on well-being Richards, Campania and Muse-Burke found, “mindfullness is considered to be a purposeful state, it may be that those who practice it believe in its importance and value being mindful, so that valuing of self-care activities may influence the intentional component of mindfulness”[31] (2010).

See also--Psi.PNG

Psychology portal

Related concepts--Dissociation--Dysfunction--Mental disorder--Mental environment--Mental health professional--Mental Illness--Reason--Sanity--Structured Clinical Interview for DSM-IV

Related disciplines and specialties--DSM-IV Codes--Positive psychology--Psychiatric --urse--Psychiatry--Psychology--Social work--Youth Health