Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EoE) is a painful inflammation of the oesophagus.
Unlike anaphylactic allergies which can be life threatening, eosinophilic esophagitis has low mortality but high morbidity.
It’s symptoms are slow onset:
- Painful swallowing,
- stomach ache
- and even food becoming stuck in the oesophagus.
Both types of allergies are triggered by certain foods, but the culprit may not be obvious in EoE. The child may have to follow a restricted diet until the offending food is found.
Paediatric allergists have identified it as a later component of the allergic march, where children successively develop a series of allergies.
“The more allergies a child has, the higher is that child’s risk of developing EoE,” said study leader David A. Hill, MD, PhD, an allergist at Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP). “The connection among these allergies suggests a common underlying biological cause, and also may imply that if we can successfully treat an earlier type of allergy, we may prevent later allergies.”
The allergic march usually lasts until the child is 5 years old.
Typical progression is:
- Skin allergy: such as atopic dermatitis.
- Anaphylactic food allergy
- Respiratory allergy: such as asthma
The new research shows that EoE may be the next part of the march.
“We found that if children had three allergies other than EoE, they were nine times more likely to develop EoE than children with no pre-existing allergies,” said Hill.
The peak age of EoE diagnosis was 2.6 years. Though it can sometimes be misdiagnosed or persisting undiagnosed into adolescence.
Children with EoE are at a higher risk of developing allergic rhinitis, commonly known as seasonal allergy.
The study recommends that children with existing allergies should be screened for EoE.
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