New research has found that nearly 4.6 million adults are suffering from peanut allergies in the US. Many of these people have developed the allergy in adulthood. The study has noted that more than 800000 of these people have developed the allergy after 18 years of age. The findings of the research have been released in the Journal of Allergy and Clinical Immunology. Earlier, a peanut allergy has been considered a pediatric health issue. However, the senior author of the study, Dr. Ruchi Gupta, who is the director of the Center for Food Allergy and Asthma Research at Northwestern University, has said more adults have been identified with this type of allergy as compared to children.
As per the experts, only 15 to 20 percent of kids who are found to have peanut allergy outgrow their allergy by adulthood. A survey of more than 40000 adults in the US has shown that adults who have developed peanut allergy in adulthood are less likely to be diagnosed by a physician as compared to adults who have been dealing with the issue from childhood. Experts have said that adults who have an adverse reaction to certain food items tend to avoid eating it rather than getting an allergy test done. The author of the study has said that when people are diagnosed with a peanut allergy via allergy test, it confirms that they are allergic which affects how they plan their lifestyle.
Experts have said that out of 2.9 percent of people in the US who have said to have a peanut allergy, only 1.8 percent of them, which is around 4.6 million, have been diagnosed with convincing symptoms of peanut allergy. Convincing signs of peanut allergy include vomiting, hives, and troubled breathing. The authors of the study have said that bloating and diarrhea are not convincing signs of peanut allergy. Christopher Warren, the co-author of the study has said that people who self-diagnose their peanut allergy have been putting a pointless burden on themselves by not eating peanuts, which is a rich source of protein. He has said that people can easily avoid these additional burdens by getting a routine allergy test.
The lead author of the study has said that it is important to get an allergy test done, as it will help doctors to prescribe epinephrine, which is given as an emergency treatment for anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a deadly reaction to an allergen. The study has found that only 44 percent of adults who have been diagnosed with an adult-onset peanut allergy have said that they have an epinephrine prescription as compared to 56 percent of adults who have been diagnosed with this issue in childhood.
The senior author of the research has said that though there is no known reason behind adults developing peanut allergy in later life but an environment or hormones of a person might play a crucial role in the onset of this type of allergy. Experts are trying to find out whether the living atmosphere of a person or fluctuating hormones of women during puberty or menopause can lead to an allergy. Experts have advised that if anyone has symptoms of a peanut allergy, he or she should get in touch with a health care provider.
Adults with an adult-onset peanut allergy are at a higher risk of other allergies as well compared to those who have developed a peanut allergy as a child. The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) has not approved any treatment for peanut allergy in adults. However, there is one therapy for kids who are in the age range of 4 to 17 years. This treatment allows children to digest peanuts protein slowly and have mild reactions.