Eosinophilic asthma is a form of severe asthma marked by high levels of white blood cells called eosinophils..
- What Is Eosinophilic Asthma?
- Eosinophilic asthma: Symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment
- Eosinophilic asthma diagnosis – Tests Used
- How to treat Eosinophilic Asthma?
- Eosinophilic Asthma FAQ’s
Approx. 34 million Americans suffer from it, out of which 7 to 8 million are children. Asthma can be diagnosed with the conditions like wheezing, cough, cold and shortness of breath; however asthma is considered as collection of conditions, with differences related to age of onset, the exact symptoms, and solutions to control the condition.
What Is Eosinophilic Asthma?
Eosinophils are a type of disease-fighting white blood cells in your blood. These are the natural part of your body’s immune system. They fight against the attacks of invading bacterias and other infections.
People who are suffering from eosinophilic asthma have high number of these white blood cells that are responsible for the inflammation and swelling in the respiratory system.
Due to the factors stated above, eosinophilic asthma i.e a type of asthma may also develop in certain individuals. It is considered as the subtype of asthma marked by elevated levels of eosinophils in the blood, tissues or the mucus that generally causes spasms in the bronchial tubes, making it difficult to breathe.
Eosinophilic Asthma (EA) is a rare medical condition. As per the researchers approximately 5 percent of all adults with asthma are suffering from EA . It is difficult to treat it but proper measures can be taken to manage the respiratory condition.
How it is different from other types of Asthma?
It is different from other types of asthma due to the below listed:
- Tends to affect adults
- Swelling in the entire respiratory system
- Response to even high doses of corticosteroids is nil
- Not necessarily caused by allergies
Eosinophilic asthma: Symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment
Although, doctors don’t know what causes eosinophilic asthma; neither there are any specific things like exercises or type of food that can cause this type of asthma. What they do know is that, it can happen in older adults, and kids as well, but that’s not as common.
What are the symptoms of Eosinophilic Asthma?
Symptoms of eosinophilic asthma can be similar to that of asthma and include:
- Tightness in chest
- Chronic sinus infections
- Obstructed airflow
- Nasal drainage
- Nasal polyps
Some of the symptoms of eosinophilic asthma are similar to those of chronic pulmonary obstructive disorder. Talk to your doctor and get treatment for eosinophilic asthma.
Be prepared for a doctor’s appointment beforehand:
Sufferers with a suspected asthma or asthma will be referred to a pulmonologist or an allergist. So, we have prepared a list of tips that may prove helpful to get you prepared for the doctor’s appointment:
- Don’t forget to keep a proper record of the symptoms you are having, even if they are seemingly unrelated.
- Remember to maintain and bring a list of medications you are taking be it vitamins, over the counter medications, or the supplements.
Prepare list of questions that you have in your mind like:
- What tests can be performed For Eosinophilic Asthma?
- How should I use my medications?
- What are the triggers for asthma flare ups?
- Can I do anything to reduce the risk of having an asthma attack?
- Do I need to change my diet?
- Can I restrict the use of inhalers?
- Is there any elimination diet?
- How often do I need follow-up care?
How is Eosinophilic Asthma Diagnosed?
The initial step in Eosinophilic asthma diagnosis is evaluate your condition and this evaluation involves:
- shortness of breath with exercise
- limited airflow
- chronic sinus disease
After evaluation, there may be a case that you have diagnosed with asthma but what if you are not responding well to the treatment? Your doctor may be suspicious regarding another type of asthma and will analyze your condition. He/she may also look for the additional signs and symptoms to get it diagnosed.
The most common and easiest step to check for Eosinophilic asthma is to check the white blood cells count. To diagnose the condition your doctor will collect blood, saliva or sputum for examination. Increased eosinophils levels can affirm your doctor’s suspected diagnosis.
Eosinophilic asthma diagnosis – Tests Used
- Blood Eosinophil Count Test: A blood test used to measure levels of eosinophils in your blood. It’s a simple blood draw and there is no need to fast before this blood test. Also, it can only measure the eosinophil count in blood and not in lungs.
- Sputum Eosinophil Count Test: This test is to measure eosinophils in your sputum, a mixture of coughed mucus and saliva. The practicality of the test is bit deniable as few people have trouble generating a sample however the accuracy of this test is unquestionable.
- Bronchial Biopsy Test: This test is more invasive than the others and less likely to be used for the initial diagnosis.
How to treat Eosinophilic Asthma?
Depending on the condition your doctor may recommend certain type of drugs to manage the condition and help you breathe easily. The most common Eosinophilic Asthma treatment includes:
- Leukotriene modifiers
- Biologic therapies
Corticosteroids: These can be recommended by your doctor to take them orally or inhale them; however, pills have more side effects than an inhaler so use it carefully.
Leukotriene Modifiers: Leukotriene is already present in your body that combines with eosinophils and acts as a major cause for inflammation. The leukotriene modifiers inhibits the inflammatory response caused in the body.
Biologic Therapies: These therapies are provided to the patient to block the chemicals in the body that is responsible for the inflammation and swelling. These are provided by intravenous drip or injection.
Eosinophilic Asthma FAQ’s
1. How do I know that I have Eosinophilic Asthma?
The initial step is definitely the physical exam. Your doctor will examine you physically to check your breathing and then move further to test your mucus, blood and sputum. Swelling in the nose and sinuses. Growths in the nose and sinuses, called nasal polyps can also be the ones to have a rough idea of the condition.
2. Is eosinophilic asthma curable?
The disease can be fatal but researchers are doing their best to have the ways to treat the condition. The new treatments have significantly proven themselves to get rid of the symptoms as well.
3. What can be the trigger for eosinophilic asthma flare ups?
It is caused by increased levels of white blood cells known as eosinophils. These can cause airways inflammation that particularly affects the nasal passages as well as the airways.
4. Can blood tests detect eosinophilic asthma?
The most common tests are spirometry, blood and sputum tests. Spirometry is a breathing test that measures how much and how fast you are able to blow air out of the lungs. It is often used to determine the amount of airway obstruction you have. Blood tests and sputum tests are generally used to detect eosinophilic asthma. Out of which sputum test is the most reliable.
5. Is eosinophilic asthma a disability?
Asthma attacks can only qualify patients for disability benefits if they are prolonged (lasting at least a day at a time) and if they are severe enough to require “intensive” treatment, which is defined by the SSA.
6. Is research being conducted for eosinophilic asthma?
Yes, there have been an ample amount of clinical trials currently underway, and many of which focus on emerging biologic therapies to control the symptoms of eosinophilic asthma.
Other Sources :