A Holistic Approach to Allergy Testing
Allergic conditions like hay fever, perennial allergies, asthma, and eczema have traditionally been handled by individual specialists like allergists, pulmonologists and dermatologists, who treat them as single problems completely divorced from the overall (whole) health condition of the patient. Most patients are treated symptomatically with antihistamines, nasal/inhalant and topical steroids, anti-inflammatories, and rescue inhalers. While certainly making life more bearable, these treatments often provide minimal help and do nothing to address underlying causal factors. Nor does this reactive approach take into account how allergies may be intertwined with many other problems that people often experience concurrently—like irritable bowel syndrome, chronic sinus infections, fatigue, aches and pains, headaches, frequent viral respiratory infections, depression/anxiety and auto-immune disorders.
Taking the time to get a complete picture of the whole individual and tailoring a customized, comprehensive program that integrates their allergic issues with their entire set of particular imbalances, deficiencies, and excesses usually results in better outcomes. Furthermore, properly diagnosing and treating allergies will often help improve other related conditions. By the same token, having a good understanding of a patient’s other conditions often helps to diagnose, understand and better treat their allergic problems.
This integrated approach offers huge benefits that extend beyond the treatments themselves. While it relies heavily on a patient’s active participation, the holistic treatment of allergy can result in a better-educated, more compliant, and empowered person who understands the root cause of her condition, is equipped with tools to successfully manage it, and enjoys an improved overall perspective and outcome.
W. Alex Bingham, MD
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