a type of white blood cell. These white blood cells help to protect the body from
certain types of
infections and are involved in allergic responses.
Eosinophils are created in the bone and move through the body in the blood.
Eosinophilia is an abnormally high number of these white blood cells. There may be high levels of eosinophils in the blood, in the tissue, or both.
There are several types of eosinophilia including: Familial eosinophilia—caused by problems in genes that control eosinophil growthSecondary eosinophilia—related to a
parasitic infection, autoimmune reaction,
allergic, or other inflammatory illnessesPrimary eosinophilia—change in production of eosinophils associated with certain leukemias or chronic myeloid disorders such as myelodysplastic syndrome
White Blood Cells
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Eosinophilia may be caused by an
illness to a specific area or an overproduction of these cells. The cause will vary based on type of eosinophilia. Causes include: Allergy diseases, such as asthma, eczema, and allergic rhinitisDiseases from parasitic worms
Sometimes the cause of eosinophilia is not known.
Symptoms of eosinophilia are often those of the underlying condition. For example:
Asthma symptoms may include:
Parasitic infection symptoms may include:
Medicine reaction symptoms may include:
Rarer symptoms of eosinophilia
may include: Weight lossNight sweatsLymph node enlargementSkin rashesNumbness and tingling due to nerve damage
Your doctor will ask about your symptoms and medical history. A physical exam will be done. You may be referred to a blood specialist.
Your bodily fluids, tissues, and waste may be tested. This can be done with: A blood test
Stool testsBone marrow examination
Your bodily structures may need to be viewed. This can be done with: Chest x-rayCT scan of chest and abdomenBronchoscopy
Talk with your doctor about the best treatment plan for you. Primary and secondary eosinophilia can be managed by treating the underlying cause.
Idiopathic eosinophilia may be treated with corticosteroids. This group of medications can reduce inflammation and decrease the number of eosinophils. Corticosteroids may be taken in inhaled form, topical treatment, pills, or injections.
There are steps you can take to lower your risk of eosinophilia caused by parasites or allergies:
Wash your hands often, especially:
After using the toiletAfter changing a diaperBefore handling or eating foodAfter contact with animals or soilAfter contact with infected peopleDrink safe water. Boil water if you are unsure if it is safe.Avoid swallowing water when swimming in recreational water.Eat safe food. Wash vegetables that will be eaten raw.Drink only pasteurized milk and juice.Use precautions during sexual activity.Avoid allergy triggers.
Eosinophilia. NetDoctor website. Available at:
http://www.netdoctor.co.uk/diseases/facts/eosinophilia.htm. Updated June 2, 2005. Accessed August 6, 2013.
Eosinophilia. Patient UK website. Available at:
http://www.patient.co.uk/doctor/Eosinophilia.htm. Updated March 22, 2013. Accessed August 6, 2013.
Tefferi A. Blood Eosinophilia: A New Paradigm in Disease Classification, Diagnosis and Treatment.
Mayo Clin Proc.
Last reviewed August 2013 by Michael Woods, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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