Is food allergy a civilization-related disease?
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Department of Cattle Breeding and Milk Evaluation, Faculty of Animal Bioengineering, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland
Provincial Children’s Rehabilitation Hospital in Ameryka/Olsztyn, Poland
Division of Genetic Immunology and Microbiology, Faculty of Medical Sciences, University of Warmia and Mazury in Olsztyn, Poland
Submission date: 2010-09-26
Acceptance date: 2010-11-12
Online publication date: 2012-12-01
Publication date: 2023-03-12
Corresponding author
Grzegorz Zwierzchowski
Wydział Bioinżynierii Zwierząt, Uniwersytet Warmińsko- Mazurski w Olsztynie, ul. Oczapowskiego 5/150, 10-719 Olsztyn, Poland; phone: +48 89 523 42 67, e-mail:
Pol. Ann. Med. 2011;18(1):168-176
Introduction. Civilization-related diseases are defined as diseases encompassing a global range, whose appearance or spreading issues have been largely caused as a result of the advances of modern civilization. Thus, such diseases are also interchangeably termed diseases of the 21st century. Allergy, i.e., an organism’s abnormal immune reaction to exposure to an allergen, due to its increasing incidence, especially in developing countries, is occasionally called “an epidemic of the 21st century”. Issues concerning food allergy are significant ones with respect to allergies as such. Aim. This work aimed at reviewing the most current literature concerning food allergy. Discussion. The incidence of adverse reactions to food varies. Reaction depends on the allergen type, patient’s age, type of evaluated mechanism, and local diet. Potentially, each food may cause sensitivity; however, in order for a reaction to occur several conditions must be fulfilled. Allergens are mainly water-soluble glycoproteins ranging in size from 10 kDa to 70 kDa. Cases of allergies caused by smaller particles (approx. 3 kDa) or larger ones (up to 100 kDa) are also known. The increased prevalence of food allergies results from an unfavorable combination of genetic and environmental factors. Conclusions. The incidence of food allergies is on the increase. The symptoms are intensified and regress at more advanced ages, whereas diagnostic and treatment complexities place these diseases among civilization-related diseases of the present century.
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