Symptoms of Alpha-Gal Syndrome
Alpha-gal syndrome (AGS), characterized by the sudden onset of an often atypical allergic reaction to mammal products and sometimes carrageenan, was not described until 2009. As awareness of alpha-gal syndrome and the ticks that are known to trigger it spread, so too do the number of confirmed cases. Many of those unknowingly affected face an uphill battle as detailed descriptions of the various symptoms of alpha-gal syndrome are under published, and diagnosis is often preceded by misdiagnosis since alpha-gal syndrome is not yet listed as a differential diagnosis for a number of lookalike conditions in medical texts and databases. The story of misdiagnosis is especially common for those who do not recall previous tick bites, or who live outside the most affected regions. Those who have gone through misdiagnosis and are now diagnosed frequently lament “I wish I had known what to look for sooner.”, “I didn’t know trace sources were behind my other symptoms.”, and most of all “I hope no one else has to suffer as long as I did.” when they uncover the full extent and cause of their personal symptoms. Here we discuss a variety of anecdotal symptoms of alpha-gal syndrome, commonly reported by people with alpha-gal syndrome, that they have traced back to the condition and corrected with diet changes. Many of the differential diagnoses confused with alpha-gal syndrome lack effective treatment, so knowing the culprit is alpha-gal syndrome and having a way to recover is invaluable. If you suspect you may have undiagnosed alpha-gal syndrome, consider talking with your doctor about seeing a specialist and being formally tested or diagnosed. Part of what makes AGS so difficult to recognize is the complexity and variability of the reaction pattern. As more variants and factors are documented, diagnosis and recognition continue to improve. The fingerprint of AGS is becoming clearer, and a detailed food and symptom journal can now easily unmask cases with clear reactions. Unfortunately, milder cases and less clear reactions remain difficult to distinguish from other common conditions. Only recently have these murky symptom sets come to light as more and more patients report having old chronic conditions vanish like magic when they finally develop clear reactions to alpha-gal and are forced to change their diet. Disclaimer: We are not doctors, nor medical professionals. If you are experiencing any potentially threatening symptoms of alpha-gal syndrome, be sure to see your family doctor to receive the help you need.