Is Eoe An Autoimmune Disease?
Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a rare chronic inflammatory disease that affects the esophagus. It is characterized by the presence of eosinophils – a type of white blood cell – in the esophageal tissue. While the exact cause of EoE is not known there have been discussions about whether EoE is an autoimmune disease.
What is EoE?
EoE is a condition that occurs when a patient experiences inflammation in the esophagus. The inflammation occurs as a result of the presence of eosinophils – a type of white blood cell – in the esophageal tissue. When a person has EoE they experience difficulty swallowing chest pain heartburn. In some cases they may experience vomiting weight loss food impaction.
Is Eoe an Autoimmune Disease?
Autoimmune diseases occur when the immune system attacks healthy cells in the body. When this happens white blood cells – which are typically supposed to fight off infections – begin to attack healthy tissues instead. There is evidence to suggest that EoE is not an autoimmune disorder but a type of allergic disease instead.
According to a study published in The Journal of Allergy Clinical Immunology EoE represents an aberrant response by the immune system to dietary antigens such as those found in cow’s milk or wheat. This aberrant immune response leads to the accumulation of eosinophilic cells in the esophageal tissue which results in inflammation swelling.
What Are The Symptoms of EoE?
EoE symptoms vary from person to person but they commonly include:
– Difficulty swallowing
– Chest pain or pressure
– Heartburn or acid reflux
– Food impaction (when food gets stuck in the esophagus)
– Abdominal pain
– Weight loss
If you experience these symptoms you should see an allergist or gastroenterologist to get a proper diagnosis.
How is EoE Treated?
Currently there is no cure for EoE. However it can be managed with medication or dietary modifications. Medications used to treat EoE include proton pump inhibitors (PPIs) corticosteroids biologic therapies.
In terms of dietary modifications patients may be advised to undergo an elimination diet or a restricted diet. For an elimination diet allergenic foods – such as dairy or wheat – are removed from the patient’s diet for a period of six to eight weeks. If symptoms improve the allergenic foods are gradually reintroduced to determine which ones trigger EoE symptoms. On the other hand a restricted diet involves removing certain foods from a patient’s diet permanently to prevent symptoms of EoE.
EoE is a chronic inflammatory disease characterized by the presence of eosinophils in the esophageal tissue. While some experts have suggested that EoE is an autoimmune disorder there is evidence to suggest that it is an allergic disease instead. The condition can be managed with medication or dietary modifications patients experiencing EoE symptoms should see an allergist or gastroenterologist to get a proper diagnosis.
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