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Dr Stan
Dr Stan, Doctor
Category: Health
Satisfied Customers: 178
Experience:  30 + years practicing family medicine. Board Certified in Family Practice
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Im so grateful youre there! My husband, age 70,

Customer Question

I''m so grateful you''re there! My husband, age 70, has suffered 7 episodes of "idiopathic anaphylaxis" since last November. The triggers have ranged from dust to cooking fumes to grass. Results from allergy testing indicate 1+ reactions to tomatoes, soy, peanuts, and shellfish all of which he has eaten in the past with no reaction. I''m not convinced that food is the culprit and think that perhaps his immune system is compromised in some way so as to cause the allergic reactions. He is in good health otherwise, exercises regularly and is not overweight. His symptoms have caused 4 visits to the ER and one hospital admittance due to severe swelling of the eyes (first), then throat, tongue and lips. We are very frightened and would like some idea of other avenues to pursue in solving the problem once and for all. He now carries an epipen, prednisone, an inhaler and nasal spray for emergencies. What else and where else do we go from here? Thank you so much.
Submitted: 8 years ago.
Category: Health
Expert:  Dr Stan replied 8 years ago.

Hi Sidney and Jim,

Since its identification 25 years ago, idiopathic anaphylaxis has been classified and treated successfully. The observation that idiopathic anaphylaxis is a steroid-responsive disease has led to recent investigations into a possible autoimmune etiology. Known causes of anaphylaxis that must be considered in every patient with a possible diagnosis of idiopathic disease include food, medications, insect stings, latex, radiographic contrast media, and exercise. Your doctors have prescribed the most current treatment/preventive measures for this allusive problem. The person must be sensatized to an allergen before an allergic response occurs in a patient. This may be the case with your husband eating tomatoes, soy, peanuts, and shellfish. His body became sensative to these foods after weeks, months or even years of ingesting them before becoming allergic to them. He should be tested for latex (gloves) and discuss everything that he experiences before an attach: The foods he eats, what he was doing, where he was, etc. I hope this has been helpful.

Dr. Stan

Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Obviously, we have already tried all of the suggestions above. Testing is complete, including the areas mentioned. Since each episode is worse than the one before, we are in dangerous territory now. The next time may be fatal. We need more concrete answers.
Expert:  Dr Stan replied 8 years ago.

Sidney and Jim,

I wish I could give you the answer you are looking for, but unfortunately, it doesn't exist at this time. There is no "test" that will make the diagnosis. It is a diagnosis of exclusion. This means that all other causes for anaphylaxis are excluded such as food allergies, asthma, etc. I realize your are concerned that he will have a fatal attack. He must keep the epipen and other meds with him and avoid all of the possible triggers.

Dr. Stan

Dr Stan and 4 other Health Specialists are ready to help you
Customer: replied 8 years ago.
Reply to Dr Stan's Post: Dear Dr. Stan,

I was disappointed that your answer was not at the depth I had hoped. I thought I had explained we had followed all obvious treatment and were looking for another avenue we could pursue. After 4 trips to the ER and one admittance, plus allergy testing, it is apparent that nobody has a plan for us other than to prepare for the next emergency. It is unfortunate that only 1% of the people in the world with this problem are able to identify the cause and that most of the information I have came from the internet medical websites which, of course, are quite general. I am accepting your attempt to help us despite my disappointment. Thank you.