You Won’t Believe What This Woman Is Allergic To
Julie Reid was once an active 28-year-old woman with plenty of energy and a love of life. Then, unexpectedly, she developed a condition known as cholinergic urticaria, which essentially causes hypersensitivity to certain stimuli that trigger immune system responses in the form of hive outbreaks. Only about 5 percent of all Americans suffer from the condition, and it typically starts to manifest symptoms during early to mid-adulthood, between 20 and 39 years old.
The stimuli that create the overreaction from the immune system can be anything from exercise, sweat, tears, warm temperatures, and in severe cases, emotional responses. Anxiety and stress are the most common emotional triggers for an outbreak, but extreme excitement or fear can also set off the condition. Julie suffers from a fairly severe form of the condition, and she can’t so much as take a warm shower without triggering an outbreak on just about any area of her skin.
It isn’t known what causes cholinergic urticaria, but some researchers believe it stems from the neurotransmitter called acetylcholine. The molecule is said to illicit a negative response if released from nerve endings. Cholinergic urticaria might be a symptom of too much acetylcholine in the system. In any case, the outbreaks are usually widespread over a large portion of the body, and they may last up to six weeks, although milder cases dissipate after an hour or so. The condition is technically classified as a chronic illness, since it is inherently systemic.
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