Disease: Alcohol intolerance

Alcohol intolerance can cause immediate, unpleasant reactions after you drink alcohol. The most common signs and symptoms of alcohol intolerance are stuffy nose and skin flushing. Alcohol intolerance is caused by a genetic condition in which the body is unable to break down alcohol efficiently. The only way to prevent alcohol intolerance reactions is to avoid alcohol.

Alcohol intolerance isn't an allergy. However, in some cases, what seems to be alcohol intolerance may be your reaction to something in an alcoholic beverage — such as chemicals, grains or preservatives. Combining alcohol with certain medications also can cause reactions.

In rare instances, an unpleasant reaction to alcohol can be a sign of a serious underlying health problem that requires diagnosis and treatment.

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

Signs and symptoms of alcohol intolerance — or of a reaction to ingredients in an alcoholic beverage — can include:

  • Facial redness (flushing)
  • Warm, red, itchy bumps on the skin (hives)
  • Worsening of preexisting asthma
  • Runny or stuffy nose
  • Low blood pressure
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Diarrhea

When to see a doctor

You may not need to see a doctor if you have a mild intolerance to alcohol or something else in alcoholic beverages. You may simply need to avoid alcohol, limit how much you drink or avoid certain types of alcoholic beverages. However, if you have a serious reaction or severe pain, see your doctor. Also, if your symptoms seem to be linked to an allergy or a medication you're taking, see your doctor.

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

Alcohol intolerance occurs when your body doesn't have the proper enzymes to break down (metabolize) the toxins in alcohol. This is caused by inherited (genetic) traits usually found in Asians.

Other ingredients commonly found in alcoholic beverages, especially in beer or wine, can cause intolerance reactions. These include:

  • Sulfites or other preservatives
  • Chemicals, grains or other ingredients
  • Histamine, a byproduct of fermentation or brewing

In some cases, reactions can be triggered by an allergy to a grain such as corn, wheat or rye or to another substance contained in alcoholic beverages.

Rarely, severe pain after drinking alcohol is a sign of a more serious disorder, such as Hodgkin lymphoma.

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

The following may help your doctor determine the cause of your symptoms and whether you have alcohol intolerance or something else:

  • Description of your symptoms. Be prepared to describe your symptoms and what drinks cause them. Your doctor may want to know whether you have blood relatives with food allergies or other allergies.
  • Physical examination. A careful exam can identify or exclude other medical problems.
  • Skin test. A skin prick test can determine whether you may be allergic to something in alcoholic beverages — for example, grains in beer. Your skin is pricked with a tiny amount of a substance that could be causing your reaction. If you're allergic to the substance being tested, you'll develop a raised bump or other skin reaction.
  • Blood test. A blood test can measure your immune system's response to a particular substance by checking the amount of allergy-type antibodies in your bloodstream known as immunoglobulin E antibodies. A blood sample is sent to a laboratory to check reactions to certain foods. However, these blood tests aren't always accurate.

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

Depending on the cause, complications of alcohol intolerance or other reactions to alcoholic beverages can include:

  • Migraines. Drinking alcohol can trigger migraines in some people, possibly as a result of histamines contained in some alcoholic beverages. Your immune system also releases histamines during an allergic reaction.
  • A severe allergic reaction. In rare instances, an allergic reaction can be life-threatening (anaphylactic reaction) and require emergency treatment.

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

Unfortunately, nothing can prevent reactions to alcohol or ingredients in alcoholic beverages. To avoid a reaction, avoid alcohol or the particular substance that causes your reaction.

Read beverage labels to see whether they contain ingredients or additives you know cause a reaction, such as sulfites or certain grains. Be aware, however, that labels may not list all ingredients.

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

Risk factors for alcohol intolerance or other reactions to alcoholic beverages include:

  • Being of Asian descent
  • Having asthma or hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
  • Having an allergy to grains or to another food
  • Having Hodgkins lymphoma

Source: http://www.mayoclinic.com

Health Services in Toronto

Define Common Diseases

Welcome to WebHealthNetwork, here you can find information, definitaions and treatement options for most common diseases, sicknesses, illnesses and medical conditions. Find what diseases you have quick and now.