There are four types of food sensitivity tests commonly used for US adult and adolescent population to measure prevalence of allergic reaction in bodies. Let’s start by first explaining the key terms. According to Mayo clinic, a Food allergy is an immune system reaction that occurs soon after eating a certain food. There are three types of reaction of body to allergen – food allergy, food sensitivity & food intolerance:
|Question||Food allergy||Food sensitivity||Food intolerance|
|Immune system involved?||Yes||No||No|
|Examples of foods involved||Top 8 most common allergens: egg, milk tree nuts, wheat, soy, fish peanut, and crustacean shellfish||Varies by person and can impact foods you consume often||Fermentable carbs: milk, legumes, vegetables, fruits, grains and sweeteners|
|Frequent symptoms after eating the food||Rapid, often within minutes or seconds||Within a few hours to few days||Within 30 minutes to 2 days after eating|
|Symptoms examples||Trouble swallowing or breathing, nausea, vomiting, hives||Headaches, joint pain, digestive issues, skin issues, feeling of being unwell||Most common are digestive issues|
|Amount of food needed to cause symptoms||Tiny||Varies depending on your degree of sensitivity||Generally worse with larger amounts of problem foods|
|How it’s tested||Skin prick tests or blood tests of IgE levels to specific allergens||Many tests are available with uncertain validity||Breath tests may identify fermentable carb intolerances|
|Age of diagnosis||Can appear at any age||Can appear at any age||Varies, but lactose intolerance is most likely in adults.|
|Prevalence||1–3% of adults; 5–10% of children||Uncertain but suspected to be common||15–20% of the adult population|
|Can you get rid of it?||Kids may outgrow milk, egg, soy and wheat allergies||May be able to consume a food again without symptoms after you avoid it for several months and address any underlying issues||Can minimize symptoms by limiting or avoiding problem foods in the long term|
Your body’s first defense against invaders such as bacteria, common cold virus, fungus is your immune system. Sometimes this system misfires to elements in food that do not directly cause harm to your body and this presents to you as a food allergy. The most frequent reaction is the IgE immunoglobin E mediated reaction, which are triggered when your body releases chemicals like histamine in your blood flow.
It varies by each body, but in most cases food allergies tend to be mostly uncomfortable. However, in some cases this allergic reaction to food can induce life-threatening situation where immediate medical response is required right away. In those cases please call 911 to seek medical help.
Frequent food allergy symptoms:
For some people, such allergies can lead to a severe reaction called anaphylaxis. This can cause life-threatening signs and symptoms, and you should seek medical care right away:
Emergency treatment is critical for anaphylaxis. Untreated, this can result in a coma or death.
Food sensitivities are more common than food allergies according to the British Allergy Foundation. It does not involve reaction from the body immune system.
For a patient without insurance, the patient can expect to pay $150-$300 for a consultation with an allergist plus anywhere for:
Most allergy testing is usually covered by insurance. However a high deductible patient is expected to pay the full list price before the insurance kick-in.
Please note, in a case of serious allergy doctors might recommend immunotherapy, which can cost up to $4K for a full procedure. Treatment usually takes up to 3-5 years.
Food sensitivity test costs
In most cases as these are not considered medical diagnosis and as a result they tend to to be covered by insurance. The prices are very similar, the blood test can be around $200-$600. At home tests start at $60-150.
Where can you get tested for food allergy?
Your allergist might offer an onsite test for skin prick, intradermal or patch test allergy procedures. If you are suggested a blood test, then you might use a local quest lab or labcorp facility to get yourself tested.