Diagnostics and test methods
An accurate diagnosis is crucial for an effective allergy therapy, to a certain extent the be-all and end-all. The focus is interviewing the patient. The more thoroughly a patient's medical history can be researched, the more accurate a therapy can be devised and the better the chances of recovery. Additional valuable information for the diagnosis can be provided by patient observation, specifically where, when and under what circumstances the clinical overview develops or deteriorates.
Conventional test methods
In addition to the detailed patient interview, the physician specific test options at his or her disposal. The most common methods are summarized below, divided into two groups: Skin tests and blood tests.
- Epicutaneous test (lapping test)
In this allergy test, the test substance is spread on the skin, usually the back, using a lobule. The reactions are read after 48 and 72 hours respectively. The epicutaneous test is particularly suitable in diagnosing contact eczema.
- Friction test
As the name suggests, the friction test involves rubbing the inside of the forearm with the suspected allergenic substance, e.g. animal hair, a few times vigorously. If there is sensitization to the allergen, an allergic skin reaction often occurs just a few minutes later.
- Prick test
Here the doctor drops solutions of various allergy triggers onto the patient's forearms. He or she uses a fine needle or lancet to scratch the skin under the drop, thus bringing the test substance under the skin. The doctor can read the result after about 20 minutes. If redness or swelling appear at the respective injection site, the corresponding substance can be used as an allergen. The prick test is the most common allergy test because it is fast, but it is painful and very stressful procedure especially for children.
In principle similar to the prick test, but here the skin is first superficially scratched at the test site and the test material subsequently applied.
- Intradermal test
In this procedure, allergen dilutions are injected a little deeper under the skin to form a boil. Depending on the type of allergy, an allergic reaction occurs after 20 minutes, eight hours or two days.
- Provocation tests of the mucous membranes
Here the doctor sprays a spray into the nose which contains an allergy trigger. If there is an allergy, the nose swells. The same procedure can also be performed on the eyes and lungs. The allergen is either dripped onto the conjunctiva of the eyes or inhaled during the bronchial provocation test. A maximum of two allergens can be tested during one session.
Blood tests are gentler than skin tests, which are often perceived as unpleasant by patients. In the laboratory, the antibodies that your immune system has formed against food, known as immunoglobulins, are determined from the blood taken. Immunoglobulin G and immunoglobulin E are detected.
- Immunoglobulin E-test
The most common blood tests are based on the search for immunoglobulin E such as the RAST test (radio allergo sorbent test) and the RIST test (radio immuno sorbent test). Both are based on the knowledge that in an allergy an excessive number of IgE-type immunoglobulins circulate in the blood. A suspicious allergen is connected to the blood sample on a filter paper and tested with the aid of radioactive substances.
- Immunoglobulin G-test
Les known is the immunoglobulin G antibody test. The detection method is called ELISA test (Enzyme-Linkes Immunosorbet Assey) and comes originally from AIDS research. With the search for antibodies of class G, spreading immune reactions that are not easily recognized by the affected person can also be detected.
Biophysical allergy testing
While conventional test methods are based on biochemical reactions, there are naturopathic test methods that operate on a biophysical level. They provide reliable results, are painless, can be performed even in small children, and are completely harmless for the patient. With these test methods, the important central, masked allergens can be exposed at the same time.
- Electroacupuncture according to Voll (EAV)
During EAV testing, energetic potentials are measured at certain acupuncture points with the aid of a resistance meter. If a substance suspected of being allergenic is introduced into the measuring circuit, the change in value can be used to determine whether the patient is allergic to this substance or not. Electroacupuncture is a simple test procedure that can be performed without great effort, does not stress the patient, and is of great significance in the hands of a trained therapist.
- Kinesiological muscle test
The muscle test is based on the discovery that functional disorders can be determined by a sudden decrease in the strength of the voluntary muscles, usually the arm. If the originally strong muscle becomes weak after contact with the allergen, there is a positive reaction, i.e. an allergy to the substance in question.
- Pulse test according to Loca
In this test procedure, the patient's pulse is measured before and after eating a food suspected of being allergenic. If the pulse rate increases by more than 10 beats, an intolerance is assumed. This test medium is so easy to use that it can be learned by the patient himself or herself.
- RAC test
The RAC test is also a pulse measurement, but rather than evaluate the pulse frequency, it determines the strength and displacement of the pulse waves before and after contact with food. With this test method, the patient does not have to eat the food, but only takes an ampoule with the food substances in his hand. This method requires a lot of experience, but provides reliable test results in the hands of an experienced therapist.