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It is estimated that 22,000 American children (1 in 10,000) may be affected by a disease called eosinophilic disorder. The incidence of this disease has grown markedly over the last five years and it has only become a recognized disease in the last five years. A boy suffering from vomiting, severe pain, intolerance to food and failure to thrive took two years to be diagnosed with eosinophilic gastroenteritis which is a very severe form of eosinophilic disorder where the whole digestive tract is affected. Eosinophilic disorder is a condition where high numbers of eosinophils (allergy-related white blood cells) cause inflammation of the digestive tract. The condition is caused by allergies to many foods and can be triggered or exacerbated by airborne allergies. Eosinophilic esophagitis is inflammation only of the bottom end of the esophagus. This condition is believed to be more prevalent in children than Crohn's disease or ulcerative colitis. Eosinophilic esophagitis or esoinophilic gastroenteritis are often misdiagnosed with acid reflux or chronic heartburn because they have similar symptoms such as nausea, vomiting, stomach pain, choking, cramping, diarrhea and weight loss. Very few testing facilities for the condition are available in the US and awareness and knowledge of the condition is poor leading to low rates of diagnosis and high rates of misdiagnosis. Leaving the condition untreated leads to scarring and thickening of the esophagus which makes swallowing painful and difficult. Treatment of the condition involves determining the foods causing the allergy and then eliminating them as well as taking steroid and asthma drugs. One boy's digestive system was so damaged that he had to be fed via a stomach feeding tube for 8 months to allow his system to heal. Then the long process of determining the allergens can begin.
Source: summary of medical news story as reported by Arizona Daily Star
About: Digestive system disorder is gaining awareness with it's increasing prevalence amongst children
Date: 30 January 2005
Source: Arizona Daily Star
Author: Carla McClain
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