Wow, six years since my last posting. I have to apologize. Life has happened since then!As you may know, I’m a physician living in Northwest Arkansas, and although my deep passion is researching and learning more about alpha-gal syndrome, I treat many people on a daily basis with other intricately complicated diagnoses. My life is hectic and my days are full, but everyday is a gift.
I personally suffer from alpha-gal. I carry a food allergy card that I give to my server at restaurants, and I wear a medical alert bracelet to let first responders know I have an anaphylactic allergy to red meat. I keep an epi-pen close at hand. Everyday life involves extra steps; avoiding meat products in my medicines, my foods, and even my beauty regimen. It can be daunting, but I’ve had this diagnosis for many years, and I believe I was actually suffering from alpha-gal much sooner than I was diagnosed; before we in America knew what alpha-gal was.
Alpha-gal syndrome is an acquired mammalian meat allergy that is usually caused by a tick bite. In America, the Lone Star tick is the culprit. Because the allergy symptoms are usually delayed for several hours, the direct link to the allergy can be hard to determine at first, unlike the almost immediate reaction an allergic person may have to shellfish or peanuts, for example.
If you think you have alpha gal syndrome, please consult a physician. There is a test that can be done to determine if you have alpha-gal syndrome. A good start is to see an allergist. There you can be tested for beef and pork, and positive tests may warrant getting a test for alpha-gal. This is not a full-proof diagnostic tool, because it can take months to years for your test to come up as positive, even though your body is showing all the classic symptoms.
I try my best not to let my alpha-gal diagnosis define me. I am so much more than that-I’m a woman, a mother, a friend, a daughter, a physician, and an advocate. I have a multitude to be thankful for, that I would be doing a disservice to myself if I chose to let my illness overcome my personal happiness. I hope that this blog is insightful and helpful; I’m going to do my best this upcoming year to stay up-to-date with this forum. My patient advocate, Michelle, has been working hard surfing the net to find the best tips for enjoying your best life living with alpha-gal, and she’ll be updating the posts often with helpful tips.