In this condition, eosinophils build up in the esophagus (the tube connecting the mouth to the stomach). Eosinophils are white blood cells that normally reside in small numbers in the blood and are an important part of the immune system. The number of eosinophils may increase in allergic diseases like asthma or seasonal allergies. Eosinophils are not normally found in the healthy esophagus. Eosinophils may accumulate in high numbers in the esophagus as a reaction to foods, airborne allergens, or acid reflux. When this occurs, they can inflame or injure the esophageal tissue, similar to an allergic reaction. Eosinophilic esophagitis was first recognized in 1978. The disease is being diagnosed at an increasing rate, in part because the disease is now more widely recognized.
Eosinophilic esophagitis may be associated with food allergies, and often can be treated successfully with changes in diet. Steroid medications also are helpful in many patients, particularly adults.
Patients may have access to investigational treatments as part of Mayo research on long-term ways to manage the disease. Asthma medications (leukotriene receptor antagonists), acid-blocking medications, and other medications are being studied for their effectiveness in treating the disease. Reference: Mayo Staff