Diathesis and allergy: different diseases or two names for the same pathology

Diathesis – the body’s tendency to pathological reactions that do not correspond to the stimulus. These can be respiratory disorders, metabolic disorders, skin allergic reactions. There is a concept of “allergic dermatitis”, which is often equated with diathesis, because the mechanism of occurrence of the two conditions is very similar. Still, diathesis and allergy are not identical concepts.

How to distinguish diathesis from allergies

Diathesis on the skin is manifested by the following symptoms: 

  • redness of the epithelium, bright red spots on the face, arms, neck, behind the ears;
  • diaper rash, weeping skin;
  • itching, flaking;
  • rash of different localization;
  • small bubbles filled with liquid.

Exactly the same symptoms can appear with allergies. Often, diathesis occurs only when an excessive amount of a substance provoking a reaction enters the body. For example, if a child eats one candy, everything will be in perfect order with his skin, and if ten – spots of diathesis will flash brightly on his cheeks. The diet helps to control diathesis well. With a true allergy, even micro doses of the allergen are enough to provoke a reaction.  

The second difference lies in the fact that diathesis almost always disappears with age, it is only a tendency to pathological reactions, but not a disease. Allergy is a disease that does not go away on its own and requires treatment. To do this, sometimes it is even necessary to inject a person with micro doses of an allergen so that he can live normally.

The third difference can be seen if a blood test is performed. In case of allergy, an increased level of IgE in the blood will be observed in the blood – an indicator that the body is pathologically reacting to the allergen. With an allergic diathesis, only a third of patients will have this immunoglobulin elevated.

With diathesis, not only dermatological symptoms may additionally occur:

  • thirst;
  • dysbiosis;
  • in children – tearfulness, low mood;
  • photophobia, lacrimation;
  • general deterioration.

Sometimes diathesis can occur as one of the manifestations of stress, like neurodermatitis. That is, against the background of experiences, physiological symptoms appear in a person, often such a situation can be observed in impressionable, excitable children. An allergy never occurs just like that; it requires contact with an allergen. 

Allergy and diathesis are very similar to each other, some experts even consider allergy as a special case of diathesis. But still, there are differences between these two states, which we talked about above. In both cases, you should avoid meeting with a factor provoking a pathological reaction, and in case of exacerbations, use antihistamines, probiotics, and sometimes hormonal drugs.

event_note August 21, 2021

account_box Dr. Peter B Milburn

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