Etiology and risk factors of Anaphylaxis

Etiology and risk factors of Anaphylaxis

Etiology and risk factors of Anaphylaxis

Anaphylaxis is life threatening medical condition which needs to be treated as medical emergency to save the life individual and unless treated within minutes of appearing the symptoms, anaphylaxis may result in death of the individual. It is important for the doctor to know the signs and symptoms of anaphylaxis and also to know about the causes and risk factors of anaphylaxis, so that prompt and appropriate treatment can be instituted immediately after recognizing anaphylaxis symptoms.

At present there is no evidence which can prove that race, sex or age of an individual or the geographical location the person resides can be responsible for anaphylaxis. In most of the cases, anaphylaxis results due to pre exposure to some immunogen. Atopy also does not predispose a person to develop anaphylaxis for substances such as penicillin, as indicated by many of the studies conducted on allergy and anaphylaxis. But atopy can be a risk factor for food allergy or allergy to latex.

Agents which can elicit anaphylaxis:

There are many agents which can elicit anaphylaxis in an individual and they include:

  • Pollen extracts (ragweed, grass, trees etc.)
  • Nonpollen extracts such as dust mites, dander of cats, dogs, horses, and laboratory animals
  • Food items such as peanuts (most common allergen), milk, eggs, seafood, different nuts and grains, beans, gelatin which is used in manufacture of capsules.
  • Hormones such as insulin, vasopressin, parathormone etc. which are protein in nature.
  • Enzymes such as penicillinase, trypsin, chymotrypsin, streptokinase etc. which are also protein in nature.
  • Hymenoptera venom such yellow jacket, yellow and baldfaced hornets, paper wasp, honey bee, fire ants etc.
  • Polysaccharides such as dextran, vaccine preservatives, monoclonal antibodies etc.
  • Medications such as antibiotics (penicillins, cephalosporins, amphotericin B, nitrofurantoin, quinolones), cancer chemotherapy agents (carboplatin, paclitaxel, doxorubicin), local anesthetics (procaine, lignocaine), muscle relaxants (suxamethonium, gallamine, pancuronium), vitamins (thiamine, folic acid) etc.
  • Agents used in diagnostic purpose such as sodium dehydrocholate, sulfobromophthalein etc.
  • Occupation-related products latex rubber products, ethylene oxide etc.
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