Digestive Allergic Disorder Rising in Kids

Posted on: Sat, 08/28/2004 - 1:07pm
ElleMo's picture
Joined: 06/19/2003 - 09:00

I thought this may be of interest to people on the list, especially if the PA person in your life was diagnosed with GERD.


Digestive Allergic Disorder Rising in Kids
August 25, 2004 02:03:56 PM PDT , HealthDay

By E.J. Mundell
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug. 25 (HealthDayNews) -- An allergic inflammatory disease of the esophagus triggered by immune cells may be on the rise among U.S. children, a new study finds.
The chronic disorder, called eosinophilic esophagitis (EE), is characterized by irritation and inflammation of the esophagus, the tube that carries food from the throat to the stomach. As the esophagus narrows, children with EE suffer discomfort and difficulty when swallowing food, and vomiting is not uncommon.

Rates for the disease appear to be on the rise. The percentage of children affected with EE may now outrank those with better-known gastrointestinal ailments such as Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis, according to the study.

The findings are published in a research letter in the Aug. 26 issue of the New England Journal of Medicine.

"Our study found a considerable rise in cases, especially in the past few years," said lead researcher Dr. Marc E. Rothenberg, director of allergy and immunology at Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Hospital.

His team reviewed data from the hospital's pathology lab database dating back to 1991. The hospital is the single provider of pediatric gastroenterology care for the greater Cincinnati area, so a review of former patients would give the researchers a sense of any local changes in the incidence of EE.

They identified 315 cases of confirmed disease among pediatric patients, "with only 2.8 percent having been identified before 2000," Rothenberg said. Many of the cases were clustered in families, usually among siblings. This could point to "either genetic links or shared environment" as possible factors, he said.

By the end of 2003, more than four of every 10,000 children in the Cincinnati area were estimated to suffer from EE -- a number similar to that of more common chronic gastrointestinal ailments.

"What's new about this report about eosinophilic esophagitis is that it had been a previously under-appreciated syndrome," said Dr. Lanny J. Rosenwasser, professor of medicine and allergy at the National Jewish Medical and Research Center in Denver. "Its prevalence is really exploding now that it's being recognized, especially in the pediatric age group."

Rosenwasser said it's hard to figure out whether the condition is simply being detected more often or whether there has been a sharp increase in new cases, as has been the case with other allergic conditions, such as asthma. "Some of it may be that people haven't been aware of it," he said. "But it may be that allergic diseases in general are increasing in prevalence, too."

The disease isn't confined to children, either. "It's possible that many cases of GERD in adults are [undiagnosed] EE, that's been unexplored as of yet," Rosenwasser said.

EE is characterized by the abnormal proliferation in the esophagus of eosinophils, which are inflammatory immune cells. Because symptoms often mimic those of gastrointestinal esophageal reflux disorder (GERD), EE is often mistaken for pediatric GERD.

"It's probably misdiagnosed very easily," Rosenwasser said. "I don't know how many doctors are aware of it. It's probably not on the radar screen for many primary-care physicians."

In fact, Rothenberg said, "many patients wait for years before a correct diagnosis is made. Once a proper diagnosis is established, children are treated with antacids and proton pump inhibitor drugs (like Prilosec) to help ease gastrointestinal symptoms, and anti-allergy drugs to help fight the underlying cause of the disorder.

Rothenberg stressed that more study needs to be done to see if the sudden rise in EE is occurring elsewhere in the nation. "It could be something specific to this area," he said.

Scientists need to learn much more about the causes of this emerging threat, as well. "We have to find out why these eosinophils are collecting in the esophagus," Rosenwasser said, "to get a better understanding of their basic biology."

Peanut Free and Nut Free Community

Click on one of the categories below to see all topics and discussions.

Latest Discussions

Latest Post by agrohimacn Tue, 02/25/2020 - 1:25pm
Comments: 0
Latest Post by krisztina Thu, 02/20/2020 - 4:49pm
Comments: 1
Latest Post by chicken Thu, 02/20/2020 - 4:45pm
Comments: 3
Latest Post by lexy Tue, 01/28/2020 - 12:21am
Comments: 6
Latest Post by JRM20 Sun, 01/26/2020 - 11:15am
Comments: 6
Latest Post by JRM20 Sun, 01/26/2020 - 11:11am
Comments: 5
Latest Post by Italia38 Wed, 01/15/2020 - 11:03am
Comments: 10
Latest Post by Italia38 Wed, 01/15/2020 - 10:52am
Comments: 2

Peanut Free Store

More Articles

If children begin to eat many different foods at a young age, there is much more of a chance that by the time they are in school, they will eat...

Those with peanut allergies often find that they are unable to enjoy dessert since there's always the...

If you've ever tried to find...

For those with peanut allergies, baked goods present a serious risk. Many baked goods do not appear to contain peanuts, yet were baked in a...

Those who have peanut allergies know to avoid peanut butter cookies, of course – but what about other...

Which candy bars are safe for those with peanut allergies? Those without allergies are accustomed to...

Are you looking for peanut-free candies as a special treat for a child with...

For those who have wondered whether airport x-ray machines negatively affect epinephrine auto-injectors, the folks at Food Allergy Research &...

Molecular allergy component testing identifies the specific food or environmental proteins triggering a person’s allergic reactions. Component...

An epinephrine auto-injector provides an emergency dose of epinephrine (adrenaline) to treat life-threatening allergic reactions. Those who have...

Misunderstanding the significance of food allergy test results can lead to unnecessary anxiety and dietary changes. The three tests used most...

It can be easy to overlook the presence of nut allergens in non-food items because the allergens are often listed by their Latin or scientific...

Tree nuts and peanuts are distinctly different. An allergy to one does not guarantee an allergy to the other. Peanuts are considered legumes and...

Welcome to the complex world of being a Peanut Allergy Parent. Get ready to proofread food labels, get creative with meals, and constantly hold an...

Take control of your food allergies! Get results in ten days and change your life forever! If you are tempted to use a home testing kit...

What can you eat if you can't eat peanut butter? Fortunately for people with a peanut allergy, there...

According to the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America, one out of five people in the U.S. has an allergy. Because there is a...

Eliminating peanut butter is the best way to handle a rash caused by this food

If your baby or toddler develops a rash caused by peanut...

Nearly all infants are fussy at times. But how do you know when your baby's crying means something wrong? Some babies are excessively fussy...

For those who don't have experience with peanut allergies, going 'peanut-free' often seems as easy as avoiding peanut butter sandwiches and bags...