It has been estimated that over 100 million Americans are afflicted with some form of allergic disease. Of these, approximately 20 million suffer with allergies severe enough to require serious attention. The allergy may be seasonal hay fever, asthma, eczema, contact dermatitis and other skin eruptions, digestive disturbances, arthritis or respiratory disorders. Many individuals are not treated properly, because their condition is not recognized as being an allergy.
Recent studies have revealed that such illnesses as rheumatic fever, rheumatoid arthritis, scleroderma, dermatomyositis, certain forms of nephritis, anemias and blood and blood vessel diseases resemble hypersensitivity reactions which have been produced in the laboratory. Other diseases involving the glands of internal secretion, particularly the thyroid gland, have now been shown to be allergic in origin.
Allergic reactions to drugs, especially to penicillin, are becoming quite; commonplace. The increase in allergy to occupational substances has become a real hazard, both from the standpoint of inhalation and from that of contact. These allergic diseases are preventable if serious attention is given to the factor of allergy.
The allergies have been neglected because the teaching of allergy is inadequate in most medical schools. The graduates of these schools are deficient in their understanding of allergic diseases and, therefore, fail to recognize and treat them properly. Despite the need for qualified physicians in this specialty, most medical men remain disinterested and loath to enter into the study of allergy as a life work.
Hospitals offering proper facilities for both inpatient and outpatient care are few in number. Allergic individuals require many more treatments than the average nonallergic person. There are but few scattered rehabilitation programs across the country for the allergic child and adult alike. The emotional component is often of prime importance in resolving the allergic problem, yet the assistance of psychiatrists is often difficult to obtain.
The National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Disease, a government-sponsored agency, is largely responsible for the impetus and gains in the field of basic and applied research in allergy. There is great need of more scientists to go into the research of allergic fundamentals.
This volume is written with the hope that it is meeting the challenge and assuming some of the responsibility of informing and educating the public about allergic diseases. It is, in our judgment, supplementing the great effort being made in this direction by the Allergy Foundation of America, a national voluntary health agency established largely through the efforts of the two national allergy societies, the American Academy of Allergy and the American College of Allergists.
The phenomena of allergy and the many allergies constitute a challenge to the physician at this time. Your interest in thoroughly informing yourself as to what the allergies are, and what you can do about them, will enable you to find joy in living and to tell others of your newfound health and happiness.
Written By: Jack A. Rudolph, M.D. & Burton M. Rudolph. M.D., Continue Reading, The Allergies and Case Work-ups