Patients aged 0 to 17 at the Professor Alberto Antunes University Hospital (HUPAA) suffering from food allergies, celiac disease or so-called atopic diseases (atopic dermatitis, asthma and allergic rhinitis) are cared for by the Ambulatory Clinic of Pediatric Allergy and Immunonutrition (ALERGNUT), a partnership between the Faculty of Nutrition of the Federal University of Alagoas (Ufal) and HU. The project team, made up of nutritionists, doctors and nutrition students, seeks to implement what is found in the scientific literature on methods to improve the quality of life of the target audience through good nutrition, strategy that goes beyond the administration of drugs. .
The group intends to implement healthy eating measures to help improve the condition of these patients, knowing that a diet high in sugars, ultra-processed, low in fruit and vegetables, is linked to worsening of atopic diseases. According to Professor Myrtis Bezerra, coordinator of the project, it is not a question of promoting a cure, but a complement in the treatment of the patient. “Most of the time, including fruits and vegetables in the diet, increasing antioxidants, fiber, and reducing ultra-processed foods results in improved health and noticeable symptoms,” he explains. -he.
The project takes place in the outpatient setting, where students, accompanied by professionals, care for patients in the pediatric outpatient clinic. Diets are prescribed, specific needs and scientific evidence in the literature are checked, cases are discussed together to have a mature scientific knowledge of each situation, coming back with the individualized diet plan, respecting the socio-economic and nutritional needs of the patient .
At ALERGNUT, there is also an exchange of knowledge with the community, through workshops in the waiting rooms of the HU. Every 15 or 20 days, a theme is chosen from among allergies and atopic diseases, deepened and transformed into a simpler and more accessible language.
To participate, the population can come to the pediatric clinic and inform the reception of their interest in participating in ALERGNUT and request the agenda of the project, informing the name and telephone number of the patient. From there, you will be added to the waiting list and the appointment will be made later. Another way is to send a message to the Instagram profile (@alergnut.ufal). There are five vacancies for the outpatient clinic per department and approximately 30 people attend the monthly workshops. “We have vacancies for these patients and we hope to help improve their quality of life in terms of food and health orientation,” adds the coordinator.
Quality of life
Atopic diseases are influenced by genetic and environmental factors such as temperature changes, as well as genetic predisposition. Typically, carriers must use many medications, especially corticosteroids, frequently and chronically to control symptoms. Among the factors that compromise the quality of life are irritability, itching, lack of concentration (in children between 1 and 2 years old) as a result of atopic dermatitis. In case of allergic rhinitis, loss of quality of sleep, excessive cough, which disrupts school life in case of worsening conditions.
In atopic dermatitis, allergic rhinitis and asthma, the symptoms come and go, with moments of attack. Diet is part of the treatment to try to improve the patient’s state of health and reduce the worsening of these conditions with specific nutritional therapy, based on scientific evidence.