Signs of chronic disease in the esophagus Signs of chronic disease in the esophagus

Eosinophilic esophagitis is a chronic disease of the esophagus, an organ responsible for bringing food and liquids from the mouth to the stomach.

As the U.S. National Library of Medicine explains, this condition occurs when white blood cells (called eosinophils) build up in the esophagus, causing damage and inflammation. This can lead to pain, problems swallowing and to food getting stuck in the throat. Some people who have acid reflux may also experience this condition.

In babies and children, symptoms include eating problems, vomiting, slow weight gain and growth, and acid reflux that does not improve with medication. In young adults, symptoms include abdominal pain, difficulty swallowing (especially with solid foods), and a poor appetite. All of these symptoms are similar in adults; however, they may experience stronger acid reflux and chest pain.

To make a diagnosis, physicians may:

  • Ask patients about their symptoms and medical history: This is because other conditions may share the same symptoms.
  • Perform an upper endoscopy (EGD): An endoscope is a long thin tube that has a small camera attached to the tip of it. A specialist inserts the endoscope through the esophagus in order to examine it.
  • Perform a biopsy: During an endoscopy, the specialist may take small tissue samples from the esophagus which are used to detect high eosinophils levels.
  • Request further testing: A blood test may be needed to rule out other conditions.

Related article: Difficulty swallowing