Immune system Allergies

Eosinophilia: 9 Causes, Symptoms, Diagnosis and Treatment

Eosinophilia is the term used to denote increased eosinophil count or increased eosinophils in the blood. But, do you know what are eosinophils? Let us see below.

What are Eosinophils?

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Our blood has three types of cells, white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets. The white blood cells are part of our immune system, which protects us from various diseases. White blood cells further include various types of cells like Eosinophils, Basophils, Neutrophils, Lymphocytes and Monocytes.

So, Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell and part of our immune system. They help in protecting us against various parasitic infections and they also take part in various allergic reactions that occur in the body.

What are Symptoms or Eosinophilia or elevated Eosinophil count?

The most common symptoms of Eosinophilia are:

  • Itching throughout the body
  • Itching around the anus
  • Red coloured rashes on the body
  • Runny nose and sneezing
  • Breathing difficulty or shortness of breath or Asthma in few people
  • Altered bowel movements or Diarrhea if infested with Parasites
  • The passing of worms in the stool if you are infected with a parasite, and is seen only in some infected people.

What causes Eosinophilia?

Many causes can lead to raised Eosinophil count or Eosinophilia. Let us look at some such causes below:

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Parasitic infections:

One of the most common causes of Eosinophilia throughout the world is Parasitic infections. Several parasitic infections can lead to Eosinophilia like Ascariasis, Schistosomiasis, Trichinosis, etc.

Drug Allergies:

Some people have allergic reactions when they take a certain type of antibiotics like Penicillins (Amoxicillin, Ampicillin), Cephalosporins (Cefixime, Cephalexin, etc), pain killers or NSAIDs (like Diclofenac, Ibuprofen, etc). People having such drug allergies can develop Eosinophilia. Such drug allergies or reactions can range from mild Eosinophilia to life-threatening anaphylactic reactions.

Food allergies:

Some people have allergies to certain food items like nuts, seeds, meat, eggs, etc. When people who are allergic to certain foods, consume these foods, they can have allergic reactions and Eosinophilia.

Atopic skin conditions:

Atopy is a type of allergic condition. Some people have various atopic or allergic skin disorders like Atopic dermatitis, Eczema, etc. People who are having such skin allergies or conditions can also show Eosinophilia in their blood.

Eosinophilic Esophagitis:

It is a condition in which the food pipe or the Esophagus will show swelling or inflammation along with elevated eosinophil count in the blood. It can cause problems like swallowing difficulties, regurgitation or reflux of food into the mouth, etc.

Churg Strauss syndrome:

It is also known by the name Eosinophilic granulomatosis Polyangitis or AGPA. It is a disorder causing inflammation or swelling of the blood vessels in the body and is associated with increased eosinophil count. It causes problems like Asthma, pain in your limbs, hay fever, etc.

Allergic Rhinitis:

It is a condition in which there is inflammation inside your nose. It is associated with Eosinophilia. It can lead to increased sneezing, runny nose, etc.

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Certain type of cancers can also be associated with Eosinophilia, like ovarian cancer, Hodgins lymphoma, AML and some other types of blood cancers. But, cancers are less common causes of Eosinophilia. They have several other symptoms apart from symptoms of Eosinophilia.

Autoimmune disease:

Several autoimmune diseases like SLE or Systemic lupus erythematosus, Crohns diseases, etc are also associated with increased Eosinophil count.

How is Eosinophilia diagnosed?

Elevated eosinophils can be found in your blood in the tests Full blood examination or FBE and also in the Peripheral blood smear. If Eosinophilia is found in these tests, your doctor might ask you to do some other tests based on your other symptoms and signs like:

  • LFT or liver function tests,
  • Some other blood tests,
  • Urine tests
  • Stool tests
  • Chest X-ray
  • Biopsy of any organ if required based on your symptoms

How is Eosinophilia treated?

The treatment of Eosinophilia mainly depends upon the cause of the increased Eosinophil count.

  • If it is caused by food or drug allergies, then that offending substance causing the problem needs to be avoided.
  • If it is being caused by Asthma, atopic dermatitis or other allergic conditions, the doctor might prescribe you antihistamine medicines, steroids or corticosteroids, drugs like Montelukast, etc
  • If eosinophils are increased by Parasitic infections, then antiparasitic drugs to kill the parasites are given to you like Albendazole, Mebendazole, Ivermectin, etc

I hope you have understood the causes, symptoms, diagnosis and treatment options available for Eosinophilia or Increased Eosinophil count.

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