Anaphylaxis : Definition, Symptoms, Causes, Triggers, Risk Factors, Diagnosis, Complications, Prevention, Treatment & Management


For a lot of people, this may be a familiar term as it may exist in their personal medical record, or in those of their close associates. Others may have an idea of this perplexing condition, heroically managed by a magic injection. [1]


Anaphylaxis can be defined as a medical emergency, resulting from the rapid onset of symptoms involving skin, cardiovascular system, and other organs, after exposure to a certain agent.

There is still disparity and no single statement to define anaphylaxis by taking into account aspects like, rate of onset of symptoms, types of symptoms, or severity of the condition. Vaguely, anaphylaxis is defined by the occurrence of two or more of the following symptoms, simultaneously or sequentially within a few minutes to hours after exposure to a probable agent, called allergen:

  • Compromised breathing
  • Compromise heart function
  • Skin or mucosal reaction
  • Abnormal signs in the gut.

By The Numbers

By the numbers
By the numbers

Due to ambiguity in definition, there is no clear estimate of prevalence of anaphylaxis. It is an established fact that incidence of anaphylaxis has increased over the past decade. However, there has been no corresponding spike in anaphylaxis-related mortality. A study conducted in various countries finds out that the most common allergens are shared in different communities, however, a population may be more sensitive to one allergen than the other. Some modifiable risk factors have also been studied, showing that geographical and environmental factors may have an impact on the ratio of anaphylaxis. The overall prevalence of anaphylaxis is around 1-3%.