Eosinophilic esophagitis: A new food-related allergic condition on the rise?

In the early 1990s, doctors began describing a new condition affecting the esophagus of patients who were predisposed to allergies including food allergy, asthma, and eczema, and who were having trouble swallowing. Today, we call this condition eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). What is EoE? EoE is an allergic inflammation of the esophagus that causes a range of symptoms. Adolescents and adults most often experience it as difficulty swallowing, sometimes feeling like food moves too slowly through the esophagus and into the stomach. In some cases, food actually gets stuck (and may require urgent removal). Children and some adults primarily experience reflux symptoms and abdominal pain rather than difficulty swallowing. In most cases, EoE develops as an allergic response to certain foods including wheat, milk, egg, soy, nuts, and seafood. If it is not properly diagnosed and treated, EoE may lead to permanent scarring or strictures (narrowing of the esophagus). How is EoE diagnosed? When EoE is suspected, generally the first test is an upper endoscopy, in which a flexible tube with a small camera and a light on one end is used examine the esophagus. The endoscopy usually reveals characteristic features of EoE, such as concentric rings and linear furrows or vertical lines, as well as small white spots or plaques. The diagnosis is confirmed if biopsies from the esophagus reveal the hallmark increase in eosinophils. Eosinophils are a relatively rare type of immune cell that play a pro...
Source: Harvard Health Blog - Category: Consumer Health News Authors: Tags: Allergies Digestive Disorders Health Source Type: blogs

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