A recent review published in the Canadian Medical Association Journal (CMAJ) sheds light on eosinophilic esophagitis, a chronic inflammatory disease that may be the cause of difficulty swallowing in children and young adults with allergies or eczema. This comprehensive review provides valuable guidance on how to diagnose and effectively manage this condition.
Eosinophilic esophagitis is characterized by inflammation of the esophageal lining, leading to potential throat injury and narrowing. While it can affect individuals of any age, children between the ages of 5 and 14 and young adults between the ages of 20 and 45 are at a higher risk. Moreover, males are three to four times more likely to develop this condition compared to females.
The incidence of eosinophilic esophagitis has been steadily increasing, with the highest rates observed in North America and Europe. However, it remains unclear if this rise can solely be attributed to increased awareness or if there is an actual increase in the prevalence of the disease within these communities.
It is important to differentiate eosinophilic esophagitis from eating disorders in adults, as the two can present with similar symptoms. Restrictive eating behaviors, including food aversions, anxiety around mealtimes, and chewing habits, can be observed in both conditions. Drs. Milli Gupta and Michelle Grinman from the Cumming School of Medicine at the University of Calgary emphasize the significance of obtaining a detailed dietary history to distinguish between the two. For instance, patients with eosinophilic esophagitis may avoid certain foods like meat and bread due to previous choking episodes, whereas individuals with eating disorders may do so to regulate caloric intake.
To effectively manage eosinophilic esophagitis, the authors recommend shared decision-making between physicians and patients, considering the impact of the disease and its treatment on the patient’s quality of life. They propose a comprehensive approach that includes dietary modifications and medications based on the severity of the disease and the risk of future complications.
In cases where patients are at a high risk of food impaction, esophageal dilatation may be necessary. Consultations with a gastroenterologist and dietitian are highly recommended to personalize the care provided to these individuals.
The authors also stress the need for further research to enhance our understanding of eosinophilic esophagitis, as well as to establish optimal methods for diagnosis, treatment, and management. This will enable healthcare professionals to provide more effective and tailored care to patients with this chronic inflammatory disease.
1. Source: Coherent Market Insights, Public sources, Desk research
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