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EoE: The food allergy disease

Published: Jul. 5, 2021 at 7:14 PM EDT
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(WNDU) - A rare chronic condition causes irritation and inflammation of the esophagus, which can make it difficult to eat and swallow foods.

What you should look out for, and how this condition can be treated:

17-year-old Will Moore dominates the soccer field.

“Soccer is something i do every week,” he says.

And a healthy diet fuels his energy. But a few years ago, the food he was eating was causing him to have an allergic reaction. In a matter of three months…

“I had three or four anaphylactic reactions,” Will said.

“It was definitely a challenge and very scary,” says Laura Moore, Will’s mom.

Doctors diagnosed will with eosinophilic esophagitis, or EoE for short.

“Basically, this is the body reacting mostly to foods and causing inflammation or swelling in the esophagus,” says James Franciosi, pediatric gastroenterologist at Nemours Children’s Hospital.

Symptoms of the condition can include trouble swallowing, heartburn, chest pain, vomiting, even trouble growing for some kids.

“If left untreated, you could develop scar tissue in the esophagus,” Franciosi says. “And sometimes you could develop a narrowing or what’s called a stricture.”

To treat EoE, a patient’s diet is stripped of most food. Then foods are slowly reintroduced, and an endoscopy is performed to monitor the number of eosinophils, a type of white blood cell related to allergies and inflammation, in the esophagus.

“If it’s a high number, then you know you can’t eat that food and if it’s a low number, then you know that’s a safe food,” Will says.

Will’s diet now consists mainly of red meats, rice, fruits and vegetables. He also takes medication to control his symptoms.

“He’s feeling a lot better,” says Laura. “He’s able to gain weight. He’s playing sports.”

And he’s scoring a goal in the fight against EoE.

Dr. Franciosi says that Will has a more severe type of illness, which involves more food restrictions.

Many children with EoE do well with only a dairy restriction, or a four-food restriction.

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