Eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE) is a chronic allergic disorder that causes inflammation of the esophagus and trouble swallowing as a result of white blood cell buildup within the esophagus. While this condition is not something that someone can outgrow or cure, an allergist can easily help you manage your condition through medication.
Symptoms will vary, depending on age. For example, infants may refuse to eat while older children may complain of stomach pains or difficulty swallowing. Common symptoms of eosinophilic esophagitis include:
- Trouble swallowing
- Food getting stuck in the esophagus
- Acid reflux that is unresponsive to medication
- Abdominal or chest pain
- Weight loss and poor appetite
- Nausea and vomiting
- Trouble sleeping due reflux or abdominal pain
First and foremost, your immunologist and asthma specialist will want to determine the cause of your symptoms, whether through environmental allergies (e.g. pollen, animal dander, dust mites) or food allergies (e.g. dairy).
In order to diagnose EoE your allergist will need to perform specific allergy testing and diagnostic procedures. The most common diagnostic test is an upper endoscopy, which allows our doctors to check the lining of the esophagus to look for inflammation. A biopsy of the esophageal tissue will also be taken during the endoscopy. A biopsy is often taken during an endoscopy because while inflammation may not be detected during an endoscopy, the biopsy can provide us with the evidence we need to make a proper EoE diagnosis.
While symptoms of EoE may come and go, this is a chronic condition that requires ongoing treatment, monitoring and care. That’s why it’s important that you have an immunologist that you can turn to. Treating EoE usually includes a combination of medication and dietary changes. Medications used to treat EoE include acid reflux medications (e.g. proton pump inhibitors) and topical steroids (to target and reduce inflammation of the esophagus).
Dietary changes will also be made if your doctor suspects certain food triggers. Common food triggers include peanuts, eggs, soy, fish, shellfish, dairy, and wheat. Our doctors will work with you to create a diet plan that works for you and doesn’t trigger EoE symptoms.
Whether you have questions about eosinophilic esophagitis or are concerned that you or your child may be dealing with this condition, your asthma and allergy doctor can provide you with the answers you’re looking for.
If you have allergies, then you are likely all too familiar with antihistamines, decongestants, and even allergy shots; however, what do you know about allergy drops? Allergy drops, or sublingual immunotherapy, is another way to treat allergy symptoms and can be a friendlier alternative to allergy shots.
When you get injectable immunotherapy (allergy shots) this exposes the body to small doses of the allergen to help the body produce the antibodies needed to fight the allergen over time. Instead of injecting the allergen under your skin, your allergist may provide you with allergy drops, which can be taken orally—read on to learn more.
In order to find out if you are right for sublingual immunotherapy, an allergist will need to perform the proper allergy testing. After all, allergy drops are not designed to treat all allergies. Currently, the FDA has only approved allergy drops for four types of allergens:
- Dust mites
- Timothy grass
- Certain grasses
Sublingual Immunotherapy seems to be effective for treatment allergic rhinitis, allergic conjunctivitis, and even allergic asthma.
Getting Sublingual Immunotherapy
One of the major benefits of allergy drops is that it provides the patients with the treatment they need to protect against allergy symptoms from the comfort and convenience of their own home. With allergy shots, the patient has to come into the office regularly for treatment, but a patient can administer allergy drops on their own as directed by their doctor.
Allergy drops come in either a liquid or tablet form. Your allergist will administer the first dose at their office to show you how it should be done. The tablet is placed under the tongue until it dissolves. It’s important that you wait one minute after the tablet has dissolved to swallow and up to five minutes to eat or drink anything. Once the first dose is administered in your doctor’s office, you will receive the drops to administer yourself at home.
In the majority of cases, allergy drops are used every few days for up to three years. If you have seasonal allergies, you’ll begin taking the allergy drops a few months prior to the allergy season and stop the medication once the season ends; however, if you experience year-round allergies, you’ll continue to take these drops all year long. You should start to experience relief from your allergy symptoms within a few months of continued use, with most people seeing a significant improvement in just one year.
Dealing with allergic rhinitis? Need allergy testing to find out if you are allergic to dust mites, grass, or ragweed? If so, an allergist can perform the proper testing and determine whether you are a good candidate for sublingual immunotherapy.
At some point in time you are going to need to turn to a doctor, whether for preventive care or treatment. It’s imperative that everyone has a general practitioner that they can turn to regularly. You don’t always have to be sick in order to benefit from seeing a general medicine doctor.
You need your annual checkup
When was the last time you saw the doctor? If it’s been more than a year since you stepped foot in a doctor’s office you may be doing yourself a great disservice. Everyone, no matter how healthy they are, can benefit from getting a routine checkup. These checkups can help prevent diseases and can even detect problems early on when they are far easier to treat or manage.
You have a family history of chronic health problems
If you are at an increased risk for diabetes, heart disease or other chronic and potentially serious health problems it’s even more important that you have a doctor that you can turn to. A doctor can perform certain screening tools to check for early warning signs. Along with valuable screenings, a doctor can also pinpoint certain risk factors that can be influenced by a healthier lifestyle. For example, those at risk for diabetes can greatly reduce their risk by eating healthier, quitting smoking and getting regular exercise.
You’re about to travel abroad
If you are about to travel internationally you may be surprised to discover that you might need some vaccines or medications before heading to certain parts of the world. It’s always a good idea to see your doctor before your next trip abroad. We can provide you with the vaccines you need to protect against certain infections that may only be present in certain areas of the world.
If you have any pre-existing health problems a doctor can also make sure that your current medication is helping to manage your symptoms before you cross an ocean. We want to prevent health problems while abroad so you can fully enjoy your vacation!
You’re unexpectedly losing weight
While losing weight is often seen as a positive thing, especially for someone looking to shed some pounds, if you notice the pounds practically falling off you even though you haven’t changed your workout routine or diet then it’s time to see a doctor. Causes include everything from gastrointestinal problems and an overactive thyroid to certain infections and cancers.
Is your body trying to tell you to see a doctor? It’s important to listen to your body to avoid serious health problems in the future. Call your doctor today and schedule a much-needed checkup.
Having trouble getting your weight under control? Want to find out the best strategy to help you shed pounds safely but effectively? If so, you may be surprised to hear that your family doctor could just be the perfect person to help you lose that unwanted weight. Think about it, you have a medical doctor who has received extensive training to understand the body and how it functions. They are actually the best person to turn to when you want a weight loss management program based on your own individual needs and goals.
Forget those fad diets and hours spent starving yourself just to binge on everything in your fridge at 2am. A doctor understands that many of the diets on the market aren’t successful because they aren’t realistic. If you want real weight loss results, your doctor is in.
First, your general doctor will know your detailed medical history that includes both your family history and personal medical history. They will understand any preexisting conditions you have and any medications you are currently taking, which are all factors that can affect your weight loss journey. By taking your current health into account a general medicine doctor will be able to create the individualized weight loss program that works with your health and your lifestyle.
The choice to lose weight doesn’t just help you feel more confident or help you love the way you look in a bikini (even though these two things are certainly great benefits of losing weight), it can also drastically improve your overall health. Even just losing 5-7 percent of your body weight can help prevent type 2 diabetes.
A doctor can also refer you to a dietitian, nutritionist or psychologist to help support your health and weight loss program. They can even discuss whether you might be a candidate for certain weight loss procedures including bariatric surgery. Whether you are only looking to drop 10-15 pounds or you are obese, your family doctor is the perfect medical professional to turn to when you want to begin losing weight.
If you are ready to take control of your life, lose weight, improve your health and feel better overall then the best place to start is your general doctor. Call your physician’s office today and let them know that you want to discuss weight loss options.
Does springtime leave you sneezing, coughing and peering at the world through watery eyes? Does your tongue seem to swell up when eating certain foods? If you said yes then you very well could be dealing with allergies, and you aren’t alone. Millions of Americans deal with allergies. If you suspect that you could be dealing with allergies, an allergist can help diagnose and treat your symptoms.
Types of Allergies and Their Symptoms
While people can develop allergies to just about anything the most common allergies include:
Food- If you are allergic to a certain food you may notice swelling or tingling in the mouth or lips, as well as hives. Common food allergies include shellfish, tree nuts, cow’s milk, eggs, soy and wheat.
Pollen- Sometimes referred to as “hay fever” or allergic rhinitis, pollen allergies usually cause those classic seasonal allergy symptoms such as watery eyes, runny nose and sneezing.
Pets- If you suddenly experience an itchy throat, nasal congestion, water eyes or a runny nose after playing with the family cat or dog you could very possibly have a pet allergy.
Mold- A mold allergy causes a lot of the same symptoms that pollen does including sneezing, postnasal drip, stuffy nose and itchy, watery eyes.
Latex- When exposed to latex you may develop wheezing, hives, chest tightness, trouble breathing or a runny nose.
Insect stings and bites- This allergy can have potentially dangerous side effects depending on the severity of the allergy. Common symptoms include swelling of the affected area, widespread hives, chest tightness, wheezing and anaphylaxis.
Drug- A drug allergy can cause serious symptoms such as facial swelling, wheezing and chest tightness, hives and rash. It’s important that you seek immediate medical attention if you experience these symptoms after taking any kind of drug.
There are certain types of allergies that are more likely to cause a severe and possibly life-threatening allergic reaction known as anaphylaxis. It’s important to call 911 if you experience these symptoms of anaphylaxis:
- Difficulty breathing
- Weak pulse
- Rapid heartbeat
- Sudden drop in blood pressure
- Loss of consciousness
An allergist will perform a simple skin prick or blood test to determine the type of allergies you have. Once we have figured out what is causing your symptoms then we can create a treatment plan that will help you manage your symptoms. While some people may outgrow their allergies others will need to follow a treatment plan for the rest of their lives.
Some ways to treat allergies include:
- Lifestyle modifications (e.g. avoiding triggers; allergy-proofing your home)
- Immunotherapy (aka: allergy shots)
- EpiPen (emergency epinephrine used to treat severe allergic reactions)
If allergy symptoms have you feeling crummy for several months out of the year then it’s time to talk with an allergy specialist who can help you get your symptoms under control.
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