What Is Eosinophilic Esophagitis

Eosinophilic esophagitis is a chronic condition

Eosinophilic esophagitis (audio pronunciation), commonly referred to as "EoE", is a recognized chronic allergic/immune condition. A person with EoE will have inflammation of the esophagus. The esophagus is the tube that sends food from the mouth to the stomach.

In EoE, large numbers of white blood cells known as eosinophils are present in the tissue of the esophagus. The symptoms of EoE change with age. In infants and toddlers, you may observe that they deny their meals or are not growing correctly. School-age children frequently have recurring abdominal pain, trouble swallowing or vomiting. Teens and adults most often have trouble swallowing, especially dry or dense, strong foods. The esophagus can narrow to the point that food becomes trapped. This is known as food impaction and it's a medical emergency.

Allergists and gastroenterologists are visiting many more individuals with EoE. This is because of an increased incidence of EoE and increased physician awareness. EoE is considered to be a chronic condition and isn't outgrown.

Other diseases may also lead to eosinophils in the gut. One case is acid reflux. Proton-pump inhibitors (PPIs) are medications that help reduce stomach acid production. These medications are commonly used to treat heartburn, GERD (gastroesophageal reflux disorder) and other ailments caused by too much stomach acid. Proton-pump inhibitor responsive esophageal eosinophilia or PPI-REE is a condition which has the same symptoms and esophageal biopsy findings as EoE. But following a trial of PPIs, symptoms resolve and recurring esophageal biopsies are normal.

What causes eosinophilic esophagitis?

While the precise source of EoE isn't yet understood, the general notion is that it is typically brought on by an immune reaction to certain foods. Many individuals with EoE have environmental or food allergies. Scientists have identified a variety of genes which play a part in EoE, such as a recently discovered receptor, calpain14 (CAPN14), that's expressed mostly in the gut. These pathways can offer new leadership to diagnose, monitor and treat EoE later on.

Who is Affected?

EoE is a recently recognized disease that's currently diagnosed in children and adults. Eosinophilic esophagitis is an uncommon disorder, but increasing in incidence with an estimated 1 out of 2,000 individuals. EoE impacts individuals of all ages and cultural backgrounds. While both males and females might be impacted, a greater prevalence is observed in men. Individuals with EoE generally have other allergic diseases such as rhinitis, asthma, or eczema.

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