Eosinophilic Awareness Week 2020

18th May 2020

This week, Guts UK wants to raise awareness, encourage collaboration and research into eosinophilic diseases.

What are Eosinophilic Diseases?

Eosinophilic Diseases (pronounced ee-oh-sin-oh-fil-ik) that affect the gut are identified by the presence of a type of inflammatory white blood cell called an eosinophil, which are raised above a normal level. When too many eosinophils congregate where they would not be usually present, they can cause chronic inflammation, resulting in tissue damage.

The landscape for Eosinophilic Diseases:

Unfortunately, Eosinophilic Diseases are often misdiagnosed because symptoms can mimic other more common diseases. Eosinophilic Diseases are often found in those with a family history of allergic diseases such as rhinitis, asthma and/or eczema. Finding the appropriate medical care can be difficult as Eosinophilic Diseases are currently not widely recognised or understood.

How do Eosinophilic Diseases affect the gut?

In the gut they appear in two main categories: Eosinophilic Oesophagitis (EoE) and Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorders (EGID).

The symptoms of Eosinophilic Oesophagitis (EoE):

  • The symptoms of EoE can vary from one person to another, and depend on age, but they are usually related to difficulty in getting food down the oesophagus (the tube going from mouth to stomach).
  • A feeling of food travelling more slowly down or (usually) sticking in the chest (which can occur without pain or with significant pain).
  • In children there can be difficulties with nutrition and poor growth, vomiting/regurgitation (sick going up and down, which can disturb sleep), food refusal (fussy eating), and abdominal and/or chest pain.
  • In older children, adolescents and adults occasionally the food can stick severely stopping all other swallowed material for hours. This is called a food bolus obstruction and may require emergency medical attention.

Those suffering with long term undiagnosed EoE will often have learnt coping strategies such as excessive chewing and slow eating, being last to finish a meal. Please read more about this here.

The symptoms of Eosinophilic Gastrointestinal Disorders (EGID):

  • Adults & children typically present with a combination of chronic nonspecific gastrointestinal symptoms, such as  abdominal pain, diarrhoea and/or blood or mucus in the stool, constipation, nausea, vomiting/regurgitation (sick going up and down inside), weight loss or failure to thrive, and fatigue.
  • Many have symptoms for several years and a diagnosis is often difficult and delayed.

For further support, visit the EOS Network website. For information on Covid-19 & EoE in children, click through to the EOS Network website here.

How can I help?

  • Support us: Our information team are here to help those with digestive symptoms and conditions. We hear from our community everyday. Many are confused about their symptoms, feeling lost, frustrated and struggling to receive a diagnosis. We are passionate about providing expert, evidence-based information to patients. Together we can reach and help more people. Support our work by donating today.
  • Share the symptoms: Scroll to the bottom of this article to share on Facebook, Twitter, Linked-In or via email. Diagnosis of Eosinophilic Diseases can often be a long journey, and you never know who you might reach simply by sharing.
  • Share your story: The team at Guts UK learn from every single person we talk to. Share your story and experiences of Eosinophilic Diseases with us today – help us help others.

OUR WORK:

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