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Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Eosinophilic Esophagitis

Today I would like to talk about a disease that my youngest son Daniel has had for 5 out of the 7 years he has been born. Eosinophilic Esophagitis.
Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EE) is a disease characterized by swelling of the Esophagus (the part of the body connecting the throat and the stomach) caused by an allergic white blood cell, the Eosinophil. Symptoms of EE can range from severe heartburn, difficulty swallowing, food impaction in the esophagus, nausea, vomiting and weight loss. There appears to be some age-related differences in symptoms, with younger children having more symptoms of weight loss, and older children and adults having food impaction and difficulty swallowing.
What are the symptoms of Eosinophilic Esophagitis?
The major symptom in adults with Eosinophilic Esophagitis is difficulty in swallowing solid food (dysphagia). Specifically, the food gets stuck in the esophagus after it is swallowed. Less common symptoms include heartburn and chest pain. In children, the most common symptoms are abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, coughing, and failure to thrive. Eosinophilic Esophagitis decreases the ability of the esophagus to stretch and accommodate mouthfuls of swallowed food probably as a result of the presence of so many eosinophils but also, perhaps as a result of some scaring that occurs in the wall of the esophagus. As a result, solid foods (particularly solid meats) have difficulty passing through the esophagus.
What about elimination diets for treating Eosinophilic Esophagitis?
The leading theory about the cause of Eosinophilic Esophagitis is that it represents allergy to some protein found in food. Evidence has accumulated in children that diets that eliminate the allergy-inducing food can result in reversal of the Esophagitis and disappearance of the eosinophils. Similar evidence now is accumulating in adult patients. Doctors have used elimination diets to define what the allergy-inciting foods might be. Needless to say between the testing, the dieting and the pain people go through I hope one day they find an absolute cure.
Recipe of the day:
Strawberry surprise
This supremely thirst-quenching smoothie is ideal to serve on scorching summer days. The balsamic vinegar brings out the flavor of the strawberries beautifully.
Serves 2
Scant 1 cup frozen strawberries
Generous ¾ cup ice-cold water
1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp flowery clear honey, such as acacia
Put the strawberries, water, balsamic vinegar, and honey in a food processor and process until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve decorated with mint
See you next time on Life around the allergies

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