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Histamine Reaction

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Histamine Reaction Empty Histamine Reaction

Post  mrsamct Tue Aug 16, 2011 5:36 am

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Histamine is an organic nitrogen compound that is derived from the decarboxylation of the amino acid, histidine. This chemical is associated with allergies or allergic reactions. An allergic reaction refers to the hypersensitivity reaction of the immune system to certain potentially harmless substances like, dust, pollen, mites, etc. A hypersensitive immune system recognizes such harmless substances as foreign invaders, and then stimulates the production of antibodies to destroy them. This in turn, induces the release of chemicals like, histamine, which is responsible for triggering the inflammatory response of the body. Any substance that can stimulate allergic reactions are known as allergens. Histamine is the main chemical that is associated with many allergic reactions. Below here are some more information on histamine reaction, its causes and symptoms.

What is a Histamine Reaction
Histamine is released by the mast cells and basophils, during an allergic reaction. Histamine can affect various parts of the body. There are several histamine receptors in our body. A histamine reaction is produced as a result of the effect of histamine on a particular histamine receptor. In general, histamine can trigger the inflammatory response of the body by dilating the blood vessels. As a result, the permeability of the blood vessels increases, which in turn allows more fluid to enter the skin and cause swelling. Dilation of blood vessels can also cause redness.

The blood vessels are dilated during an allergic reaction, so that the white blood cells can get access to the foreign invaders. Apart from dilating the blood vessels, histamine can cause the contraction of the smooth muscles, which is responsible for producing asthma attacks. Anaphylaxis is another type of histamine reaction. It is a serious condition that causes severe breathing difficulty along with a significant drop in blood pressure. Some histamine receptors, known as H2 histamine receptors are also present in the cells of the gastric mucosa. When histamine stimulate these receptors, production of gastric acid increases, which causes irritation of the lining of the digestive tract.

Histamine Reaction Causes
This reaction can be triggered by a large number of allergens. More commonly, this immune response can be triggered by allergens like, dust, pollen, animal dander, mold and mites. Even certain types of foods can stimulate this type of reaction. Many times, insect bites or stings, especially from insects like, bees, wasps, fire ants and hornets can produce histamine or allergic reaction.

Histamine Reaction Symptoms
This reaction can produce several symptoms by triggering the H1 and H2 receptors. When it stimulates the H1 receptors, one can expect symptoms like, skin rash, hives, swelling, itching along with headaches and respiratory responses. When histamine triggers the H2 receptors, it results in the gastric histamine reaction, which is characterized by an excess production of gastric acid. As has been mentioned already, histamine can affect several parts of the body. Mild histamine reaction is characterized allergy symptoms like, skin sensitivity, skin rash, itching and hives, swelling, itchy and watery eyes, runny nose and swelling in the sinus cavity.

When histamine causes the contraction of the smooth muscles, one can experience breathing difficulty or shortness of breath due to obstruction of the airways. These are the classic symptoms of asthma. In severe cases, this reaction can lead to a life threatening condition, known as anaphylaxis. Anaphylaxis is a systemic reaction, where the airways constrict or swell excessively, which can cause severe shortness of breath and wheezing. Other symptoms of anaphylactic reaction include, headache, gastrointestinal problems like, diarrhea and vomiting, along with dizziness, confusion and a sudden drop in blood pressure.

Histamine Reaction Treatment
Histamine reaction is treated with the help of antihistamine drugs. These drugs neutralize the effects of histamine on the body by blocking the histamine receptors. Antihistamines inhibit the action of histamine by blocking the messages sent by histamine to the histamine receptors. There are basically two types of antihistamines, H1 antagonists and H2 antagonists. Some common H1 antagonists are, benadryl, claritin, loratadine, cetirizine and chlortripalon. The term antihistamines is more commonly used to refer to H1 antihistamines, which are used for treating the symptoms of local inflammation and runny nose or nasal congestion. Examples of H2 antagonists are, cimetidine, roxatidine, famotidine, ranitidine and nizatidine. These are mainly used for reducing the production of gastric acid, and for treating conditions like, gastroesophageal reflux disease and peptic ulcers.

Histamine reaction usually produces mild to moderate symptoms, which can be easily alleviated with antihistamine medications. However, release of a large amount of histamine in the body can cause some serious problems like, breathing difficulty. Therefore, the symptoms of histamine or allergic reaction should not be neglected. These symptoms should be immediately reported to a physician to ensure prompt treatment of the condition.


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