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Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE)

The esophagus is a muscular conduit that contracts to convey food from the pharynx (mouth) to the stomach. Eosinophilic esophagitis is a chronic inflammatory disorder of the tissue of the esophagus characterized by the build-up of large numbers of white blood cells called eosinophils.

Esosinophils are a special type of white blood cells or leucocytes that help fight off inflammation. They are involved in allergic illnesses such as rhinitis, atopic dermatitis, or bronchial asthma, and form part of the normal structure of certain organs of the digestive tract. In normal conditions, esosinophils are not found in the esophagus. Food allergies are secondary clinical conditions to food intake, contact or inhaling of food that trigger an inadequate immune response of the body.

There are various reasons why eosinophilic esophagitis has been linked to an allergic alternation where diverse foods or even environmental substances such as pollens and other inhaled allergens produce an inflammation after contact with the immunologic system of the esophagus tissue. When the foods that have triggered the inflammation are eliminated from the diet, or a treatment with anti allergen medicines is followed, the illness goes into remission.

Symptoms

  • Refusing food: when children use their tongue to prevent food from entering their mouth, have heaves on seeing food or covering their mouth
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Excess of saliva (hypersalivation)
  • Respiratory symptoms: coughing, sinusitis, colds or pneumonia
  • Backflow of undigested food (regurgitation)
  • Abdominal and upper abdominal pain or chest pain
  • Heartburn
  • Food impactions (food gets stuck in the throat)
  • Difficulty swallowing (dysphagia)

 

Children and adults who eat much more slowly than other people and usually take a drink after each mouthful to help swallowing

Prevention

There are no preventative measures as such against the illness.

Gene or region studied

  • CCL26
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