- By sahlhealth
- May 18, 2021
- 21 views
Alpha–gal Syndrome is a recently identified type of food allergy to red meat. In the United States, the condition most often begins when a Lone Star tick bite transmits a sugar molecule called alpha-gal into the body. In some people, this triggers an immune system reaction that later produces mild to severe allergic reactions when they eat red meat.The Lone Star tick is found predominantly in the southeastern United States, and most cases of alpha-gal syndrome occur in this region. The condition appears to be spreading farther north and west, however, as deer carry the Lone Star tick to new parts of the United States. Alpha-gal syndrome also has been diagnosed in Europe, Australia, and Asia, where other types of ticks carry alpha-gal molecules.Researchers now believe that some people who have frequent, unexplained anaphylactic reactions â€” and who test negative for other food allergies â€” may be affected by alpha-gal syndrome. There’s no treatment other than avoiding red meat.Avoiding tick bites is the key to prevention. Protect against tick bites by wearing long pants and long-sleeved shirts and using insect repellents when you’re in wooded, grassy areas. Do a thorough, full-body tick check after spending time outside.
Signs and symptoms of an Alpha-gal allergic reaction are often delayed compared with other food allergies. Most reactions to common food allergens â€” peanuts or shellfish, for example â€” happen within minutes of exposure. In alpha-gal syndrome, signs and symptoms typically don't appear for three to six hours after eating red meat.
Signs and symptoms of alpha-gal syndrome may include:
- Hives, itching, or itchy, scaly skin (eczema)
- Swelling of the lips, face, tongue and throat, or other body parts
- Wheezing or shortness of breath
- A runny nose
- Abdominal pain, diarrhea, nausea or vomiting
- Anaphylaxis, a severe, potentially deadly allergic reaction that restricts breathing
- Doctors think the time delay between eating red meat and developing an allergic reaction is one reason the condition was overlooked until recently: A possible connection between a T-bone steak with dinner and hives at midnight was far from obvious.
When to see a doctor
-See your primary care doctor or a doctor who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of allergies (allergist) if you experience food allergy symptoms after eating â€” even several hours after eating. Don't rule out red meat as a possible cause of your reaction, especially if you live or spend time outdoors in the southeastern United States or in other parts of the world where alpha-gal syndrome is known to occur.
-Seek emergency medical treatment if you develop signs or symptoms of anaphylaxis, such as:
- Difficulty breathing
- Rapid, weak pulse
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Drooling and inability to swallow
- Full-body redness and warmth (flushing)
-Ambiguous genitalia is usually diagnosed at birth or shortly after. Doctors and nurses who help with delivery may notice the signs of ambiguous genitalia in your newborn.
Determining the cause
-If your baby is born with ambiguous genitalia, the doctors will work to determine the underlying cause. The cause helps guide treatment and decisions about your baby's gender. Your doctor will likely begin by asking questions about your family and medical history. He or she will do a physical exam to check for testes and evaluate your baby's genitalia.- - Your medical team will likely recommend these tests:
- Blood tests to analyze chromosomes and determine the genetic sex (XX or XY) or tests for single gene disorders
- Blood tests to measure hormone levels
- Ultrasound of the pelvis and abdomen to check for undescended testes, uterus or vagina
- X-ray studies using a contrast dye to help clarify anatomy
- In certain cases, minimally invasive surgery may be necessary to collect a tissue sample of your newborn's reproductive organs.
Determining the gender
-Using the information gathered from these tests, your doctor may suggest a gender for your baby. The suggestion will be based on the cause, genetic sex, anatomy, future reproductive and sexual potential, probable adult gender identity, and discussion with you.In some cases, a family may make a decision within a few days after the birth. However, it's important that the family wait until test results are completed. Sometimes gender assignment can be complex and the long-term impact can be difficult to predict. Parents should be aware that as the child grows up, he or she may make a different decision about gender identification.
-Once you and your doctor have chosen a gender for your baby, you may choose to begin treatment for ambiguous genitalia. The goal of treatment is long-term psychological and social well-being, as well as to enable sexual function and fertility to the greatest extent possible. When to begin treatment depends on your child's specific situation.
Ambiguous genitalia is uncommon and complex, and it may require a team of experts. The team might include a pediatrician, neonatologist, pediatric urologist, pediatric general surgeon, endocrinologist, geneticist, and psychologist or social worker.
-Hormone medications may help correct or compensate for the hormonal imbalance. For example, in a genetic female with a slightly enlarged clitoris caused by a minor to moderate case of congenital adrenal hyperplasia, proper levels of hormones may reduce the size of the tissue. Other children may take hormones around the time they would normally experience puberty.
In children with ambiguous genitalia, surgery may be used to:
- Preserve normal sexual function
- Create genitals that appear more typical
- The timing of surgery will depend on your child's specific situation. Some doctors prefer to postpone surgery done solely for cosmetic reasons until the person with ambiguous genitalia is mature enough to participate in the decision about gender assignment.
- For girls with ambiguous genitalia, the sex organs may work normally despite the ambiguous outward appearance. If a girl's vagina is hidden under her skin, surgery in childhood can help with sexual function later. For boys, surgery to reconstruct an incomplete penis may normalize appearance and make erections possible. Surgery to reposition the testes into the scrotum may be required.
- Results of surgery are often satisfying, but repeat surgeries may be needed later. Risks include a disappointing cosmetic result or sexual dysfunction, such as an impaired ability to achieve orgasm.
Children with ambiguous genitalia require ongoing medical care and monitoring for complications, such as cancer screenings, into adulthood.