Eosinophilia

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Definition

What is eosinophilia?

White blood cells are an important part of your body’s immune system. They’re vital to protecting you from invading bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Your bone marrow produces all five of the different kinds of white blood cells in the body. Each white blood cell lives anywhere from several hours to several days in the blood stream. An eosinophil is a type of white blood cell. Eosinophils are stored in tissues throughout the body, surviving for up to several weeks. The bone marrow continually replenishes the body’s white blood cell supply. The number and type of each white blood cell in your body can give doctors a better understanding of your health. Elevated levels of white blood cells in your blood can be an indicator that you have an illness or infection.

Eosinophilia refers to an elevated level of eosinophils. You can have high levels of eosinophils in your blood (blood eosinophilia) or in tissues at the site of an infection or inflammation (tissue eosinophilia).

  • Tissue eosinophilia may be found in samples taken during an exploratory procedure or in samples of certain fluids, such as mucus released from nasal tissues. If you have tissue eosinophilia, the level of eosinophils in your bloodstream is likely normal.
  • Blood eosinophilia may be detected with a blood test, usually as part of a complete blood count. A count of more than 500 eosinophils per microliter of blood is generally considered eosinophilia in adults. A count of more than 1,500 eosinophils per microliter of blood that lasts for several months is called hypereosinophilia.

How common is eosinophilia?

Eosinophilia is common. It can occur in patients in any gender at any age. It can be managed by reducing your risk factors. Please discuss with your doctor for further information.

Which signs and symptoms can eosinophilia usually be associated with?

Related signs and symptoms include:

  • Skin rash
  • Netlike pattern of reddish-blue skin discoloration (Livedo reticularis)
  • Hyperpigmentation
  • Bruising
  • Wheezing
  • Enlarged lymph nodes
  • Pain and/or tenderness of the joint and/or muscle
  • Nasal and sinus inflammation

Causes

What causes eosinophilia?

Eosinophils play two roles in your immune system:

  • Destroying foreign substances. Eosinophils can consume foreign substances. For example, they fight substances related to parasitic infection that have been flagged for destruction by your immune system.
  • Regulating inflammation. Eosinophils help promote inflammation, which plays a beneficial role in isolating and controlling a disease site. But sometimes inflammation may be greater than is necessary, which can lead to troublesome symptoms or even tissue damage. For example, eosinophils play a key role in the symptoms of asthma and allergies, such as hay fever. Other immune system disorders also can contribute to ongoing (chronic) inflammation.

Eosinophilia occurs when a large number of eosinophils are recruited to a specific site in your body or when the bone marrow produces too many eosinophils. This can be caused by a variety of factors, including:

  • Parasitic and fungal diseases
  • Allergies including allergies to medications or food
  • Adrenal conditions
  • Skin disorders
  • Toxins
  • Autoimmune disorders
  • Endocrine disorders
  • Tumors

Specific diseases and conditions that can result in blood or tissue eosinophilia include:

  • Acute myelogenous leukemia (AML)
  • Ascariasis (a roundworm infection)
  • Asthma
  • Atopic dermatitis (eczema)
  • Cancer
  • Churg-Strauss syndrome
  • Crohn’s disease
  • Drug allergy
  • Eosinophilic esophagitis
  • Eosinophilic leukemia
  • Hay fever (allergic rhinitis)
  • Hodgkin’s lymphoma (Hodgkin’s disease)
  • Hypereosinophilic syndrome
  • Idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome (HES), an extremely high eosinophil count of unknown origin
  • Lymphatic filariasis (a parasitic infection)
  • Ovarian cancer
  • Parasitic infection
  • Primary immunodeficiency
  • Trichinosis (a roundworm infection)
  • Ulcerative colitis (a type of inflammatory bowel disease)

Parasitic diseases and allergic reactions to medication are among the more common causes of eosinophilia. Hypereosinophila that causes organ damage is called hypereosinophilic syndrome. This syndrome tends to have an unknown cause or results from certain types of cancer, such as bone marrow or lymph node cancer.

The conditions mentioned above are some common causes of eosinophilia. Consult with your doctor for an accurate diagnosis.

Risk factors

What increases my risk for eosinophilia?

There are many risk factors for eosinophilia, such as:

  • A family history of eosinophilia.
  • Food allergies
  • Exposure to certain toxins
  • Use of certain prescription drugs
  • Infectious conditions

Please consult with your doctor for further information.

When to see your doctor

When should I see my doctor?

Eosinophilia is usually found when your doctor has ordered blood tests to help diagnose a condition you’re already experiencing. It’s usually not an unexpected finding, but it’s possible that it may be discovered simply by chance. Talk to your doctor about what these results mean. Evidence of blood or tissue eosinophilia and results from other tests may indicate the cause of your illness. Your doctor may suggest other tests to check your condition.

It’s important to determine what other conditions or disorders you may have. If you get an accurate diagnosis and can receive treatment for any relevant conditions or disorders, the eosinophilia will likely resolve.

If you have hypereosinophilic syndrome, your doctor may prescribe medications, such as corticosteroids. And he or she will want to monitor your health, as this condition may cause significant complications over time.

On noticing one of these symptoms or having any questions, please consult with your doctor. Everyone’s body acts differently. It is always best to discuss with your doctor to get the best solutions for your situation.

Lifestyle changes & home remedies

What are some lifestyle changes or home remedies that can help me manage eosinophilia?

These following lifestyles and home remedies might help you cope with eosinophilia:

  • If your symptom is caused by a food allergy, your doctor may advice you to avoid eating certain foods.
  • Skin problems related to eosinophilia may be managed with topical treatment.

If you have any questions, please consult with your doctor for the best solutions.

Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

Sources

Review Date: January 7, 2019 | Last Modified: January 7, 2019

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