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Autonomic Dysfunction Series: Seasonal Allergies

For the last 10 years, Michael Rothman MD has been treating patients for conditions related to autonomic dysfunction. Dysautonomia is a term used to describe a condition where your autonomic nervous system is dysfunctioning. Dysautonomia literally means dysfunctional autonomic nervous system. Every human being on Earth, at some point in time, will suffer from varying degrees of dysautonomia, yet this disorder is virtually unknown and unrecognized. We have an unseen or hidden epidemic of autonomic dysfunction and one way to combat this common, health-sapping condition is to bring awareness to this ubiquitous problem. For this reason, Michael Rothman MD will be releasing a series of blogs related to various manifestations of dysautonomia in hopes that patients suffering from these disorders will be armed with more information and follow a healthy path to get to the root cause of their chronic symptoms.

Seasonal Allergies

The Center for Disease Control estimates that each year, 35 million Americans fall prey to seasonal allergic rhinitis, more commonly known as hay fever.  A while back we released a blog targeted to those who suffer from Spring Allergies.  While there’s no cure for Spring or Fall allergies, Dr. Michael Rothman will advise you on the pitfalls of seasonal allergies, and how you can work to alleviate the symptoms you may feel and how they are related to a dysfunctioning autonomic nervous system.

What causes Allergies in the Fall?

Ragweed is the most popular allergy inducer in the fall. Ragweed is identified as a yellow-flowering weed that usually starts releasing pollen in August, but it can last far into September and October. Ragweed is notorious for spreading its pollen and its lingering allergy symptoms easily.  Even if this weed doesn’t grow in your area, it can still travel for hundreds of miles due to the wind.  Mold is another trigger for fall allergies. Piles of wet leaves are ideal breeding grounds for mold spores and the enemy for anyone who has a mold allergy.  And when your kids complain they’re “allergic to school”, they may not be far off.  Going back to school can also activate allergies in children because mold and dust mites can get stirred into the air the first time the heat is turned on in the fall.

Why do I suffer from seasonal allergies?

Every person has a general threshold in which you can tolerate elements in the environment which you are allergic to. When you exceed this threshold, your body reacts and you begin to feel the effects in the form of a runny nose, itchy, red, and watery eyes, and sneezing.  Each person’s threshold, in which allergy symptoms begin affecting you, is varying and with each day, your threshold can change as well. Various factors such as your diet, exercise, and especially stress can effect where your threshold lies. Think of your body in terms of having a bank account. When you are healthy, you have a lot of metabolic reserves, or money. When you have a ton of money in the bank and you receive a bill, you can easily pay it. But when you lack money in your bank account, it becomes painful to pay each bill. This is true of your body as well. When you have plenty of metabolic reserves and stress comes along, you can deal with those stressors. But when you are run down and exhausted, each stressor, such as allergies, affects your body more severely. Dr. Rothman can help you to understand what additional stressors are depleting your metabolic reserves and how you can work to minimize these stressors and their effects.

Seasonal Allergies as a result of Autonomic Dysfunction

Your autonomic nervous system helps control your body’s overall metabolic balance. Your autonomic nervous system is made up of two parts, the sympathetic nervous system and the parasympathetic nervous system. These two complementary parts of your nervous system are never both activated, nor are they ever both deactivated. The allergy symptoms you feel are provoked by a reaction to pollen and are affected by an over response of your parasympathetic nervous system (which causes the release of histamine into your system).  Often times, patients assume that their seasonal symptoms are a result of being allergic to something in the air, which is patently true.  However, very few, even medical doctors, will ever explore why you are reacting so severely to pollen by associating these symptoms to an underlying imbalance in your autonomic nervous system. 

How can I maintain a balance in my ANS and decrease my seasonal allergy symptoms?

Your allergy symptoms are most likely to present when your body can no longer maintain proper balance (homeostasis). Since loss of your metabolic balance results from a reduction of your vital reserves and since your vital reserves are depleted by excess stress, the best way to reduce your allergy symptoms is to reduce the overall stress load on your body.  In the simplest form, you must reduce excess stress on your body, stress in the form of fried foods, insecticides, pesticides, sugars, devitalized foods, plastics, excess work, lack of sleep and countless other stressors.  For example, every time you eat something sweet, your blood sugar rises.  This results in stimulating your parasympathetic nervous system and as we know, releasing of histamine.  It is extremely likely that sugar can be the direct result of the runny nose, itchy, red, and watery eyes, and sneezing you are suffering from!

How can Dr. Rothman help?

When you come in for a consultation with Dr. Rothman, he will run a series of tests to measure your body chemistry. In women, for example, Dr. Rothman will measure your estrogen levels. If you have high estrogen while simultaneously exhibiting low progesterone, then you are suffering from a hormonal imbalance called estrogen dominance.  This very common hormonal problem, can contribute to an up regulation of your parasympathetic nervous system. This excess parasympathetic tone can lead your body to release more histamine.  To make matters worse, if you release more histamine, this will result in an increase in your parasympathetic tone. This situation will create a vicious cycle in which your nervous system, your hormones, and your immune system become more and more unbalanced and your allergy symptoms will get worse and worse. 

Targeting any imbalance in your body within your immune system, or hormone system coupled with minimizing your stressors can bring balance to your autonomic nervous system.  By working with Dr. Rothman, you find a healthy, natural way to finally beat those seasonal allergies and maintain a lifestyle centered on wellness.

Are you suffering from seasonal allergy symptoms? Come in for a consultation with Dr. Rothman by calling, 732-268-7663 and discover the root cause of your seasonal allergies.

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To learn more about Michael Rothman MD contact us today by giving us a call at (732) 268-7663, emailing us at [email protected] or by requesting an appointment online.

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