Eosinophilia is a condition in which the number of eosinophils in the blood increase significantly higher than normal. For adults, average eosinophil values range from 0 to 500/ μ L. Children have relatively higher counts, with a normal range of 0 to 850/ μL. High eosinophil levels usually indicate inflammation or related disease in the body. In addition, drug reactions or certain blood diseases can also cause a large number of eosinophils to gather in specific areas of the body. This article will discuss high eosinophils causes, symptoms, and treatment.
What are Eosinophils?
Our immune system is an intricate network of organs, cells, and proteins. It governs our body’s natural defenses and is central to its intelligent and regenerative design. They can also move through the body’s blood and tissue, seeking out foreign incursions, such as bacteria, viruses, parasites, and fungi. Eosinophils are one of several white blood cell types that perform this essential function in supporting our overall immunity.
An abnormality or dysfunction in any part of the immune system can lead to allergies, immunodeficiencies, and autoimmune disorders. When there is an imbalance in the number of eosinophils the body is producing, it can result in similar diseases. Conversely, such conditions reflect an overgrowth of these particular white blood cells. If your eosinophil count is high, you should see your doctor for proper evaluation and treatment.
How is Eosinophilia Diagnosed?
Eosinophilia can be detected during a blood test, as eosinophils are present in the peripheral blood. The doctor may order additional tests such as chest X-rays, urine testing, or liver function tests.
Normal eosinophil values
Eosinophils are bone marrow-derived cells with an approximate half-life of 8 to 18 hours in our bloodstream and reside primarily in the body’s tissues for several weeks or more.
They perform various tasks such as antigen presentation, detection, engulfing, and informing of an adaptive immune response to infection. Eosinophils release lipid-derived peptides and cytokine mediators to regulate and promote inflammation, assisting in isolating and controlling any diseased areas of the body.
They perform degranulation to clear helminths and parasites and manage ongoing homeostatic immune responses. Thus, when present in average values within the body, they are essential in fighting foreign invaders. Normal eosinophils values are quantified as less than 500 cells per microliter.
High Eosinophils: What Does It Indicate?
Eosinophilia is indicated when the number of eosinophils in a person’s blood is equal to or greater than 500 per microliter. Depending on the patient’s presentation, the count and accompanying symptoms will be classified as mild, moderate, or severe.
A high eosinophils count is usually detected when a doctor has ordered blood tests to be taken on a patient presenting with symptoms they consider may be related to such a finding. It is less common for a physician to detect eosinophilia by chance. However, it does occur.
In cases where the underlying cause cannot be identified, it is termed idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome (HES). HES is a rare disease that primarily affects children and young adults but can occasionally affect adults as well.
Symptoms of High Eosinophils
Symptoms of higher than preferred eosinophils are likely what will cause an individual to seek medical treatment in the first instance.
The range of possible symptoms and their severity varies, in harmony with the vast array of underlying causes for eosinophilia.
Many of these symptoms, such as weight loss, fevers or night sweats, cough, chest pain, skin rashes or itching, swelling, stomach aches, diarrhea, fatigue, pain, and weakness, can likewise be indicative of other disorders unrelated to eosinophils.
Thus, while symptoms are vital indications that indicate a person should seek medical guidance, they are not reliable indicators of high eosinophil levels.
Common causes of High Eosinophils
Eosinophilia, or the recruitment of a disproportionate number of eosinophils to a specific body site, can be caused by various factors.
Allergic reactions, adrenal conditions, parasites, fungal diseases, toxicity in the body, tumors, and autoimmune and endocrine disorders, can all result in elevated eosinophil levels.
The comprehensive list of conditions that can lead to eosinophilia includes asthma, cancer, atopic dermatitis or eczema, acute myelogenous leukemia (AML), allergic rhinitis or hay fever, and Crohn’s disease, Hodgkin’s lymphoma, roundworm infections such as trichinosis and ascariasis.
Parasitic diseases and infections like lymphatic filariasis, and allergic reactions to medications, are two of the more common causes of high eosinophils.
Eosinophilia can also be from an undeterminable origin, with studies confirming a high level of unproven etiology, or manner of causation, in patients with eosinophilia symptoms.
Treatments for High Eosinophils
Early diagnosis and treatment are paramount to recovery and successful long-term health outcomes, as with all conditions affecting the human body.
There is a raft of causes and symptoms associated with high eosinophils. Thus a medical professional will often check eosinophil levels with other tests to determine the preferred treatment course. The exact nature of the treatment will be determined by the underlying conditions causing eosinophilia.
For example, in a patient presenting with allergies or chronic sinusitis, a doctor may recommend allergy testing to determine allergic triggers and then abstinence once these triggers are identified.
If there is an inflammation of the esophagus, known as eosinophilic esophagitis, this would likely be treated with medication. In cases where prescribed drugs cause elevated eosinophil levels, a treating physician may recommend ceasing the implicated medication. If cancer is a cause, it will require its fic treatment approach.
The essential, and only valid unifying element, in the effective treatment of eosinophilia or associated conditions is that the patient receives expert medical attention so that the exact causes can be assessed and the preferable treatment selected.
Careful monitoring of the patient post-medication or intervention will form an integral part of the individual treatment program. Many indications of high eosinophil counts can have long-term health complications if left unresolved.
Moreover, in many cases, it may not be something a person can prevent, with perhaps the exclusion of allergies previously identified. Finding a physician you trust and can build a long-term relationship with is often one of the best prevention methods for all diseases and other health issues.
A doctor who knows your history and whom you attend not just in emergencies but also for routine check-ups will administer regular blood tests and be alert to any other symptoms that may indicate higher than desired eosinophil levels.