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The immune system is one of the most complex systems in the human body it has the ability to recognize and destroy foreign invaders It can determine foreign from self and can adapt to virtually destroy any antigen What happens when the immune system is too efficient for its own good Allergic immune responses are estimated to effect 20 percent of Americans The word allergy is defined in the dictionary as a hypersensitive state The hyper-sensitive state is caused by an exaggerated immune response to normal stimuli in our surroundings Common stimuli or allergens are pollens mold house dust mites animal dander and insects Allernet 1999 These normal substances stimulate the body to release immunoglobin E IgE antibodies that are involved in the recognition of these allergens IgE antibodies on the surface of mast cells are the primary cause of allergies it is know that these IgE antibodies originated in the body to kill off parasites Since we hardly ever face attack by parasites these IgE molecules have focused their attack elsewhere Individuals that suffer from allergies most likely acquired them by inheritance from someone in there family The most common diseases associated with allergies are hay fever rhinitis asthma eczema contact dermatitis and urticaria Allernet 1999 Asthma is the most widely spread of these diseases and there are 176 million Americans who suffer from asthma Asthma Statistics 1998 There are 48 million children under the age of 18 with asthma Asthma Statistics 1998 In order to understand asthma and the effects its has on the human body we must first examine a primary allergic response An allergic response is described as a three-step process that involves an initial sensitization to the allergen followed by activation of mast cells and then prolongation of immune activity The sensitization functions very much like an immune response to chicken pocks When you first get chickens pocks the immune systems builds up antibodies to eliminate the infection These
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