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What is Eosinophilia?

Eosinophilia is a chronic disorder ensuing from the extreme production of eosinophils, either in the blood or in body tissues. Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell that resists infections and plays a role in the body's immune response. Generally, the blood doesn't have a large number of eosinophils. Mostly eosinophils are produced by the body in response to allergic disorders, inflammation of the skin, and parasitic infections. They can also rise in reaction to various infections or to some bone marrow disorders. In certain circumstances, eosinophils can migrate outside the bloodstream, into organs and tissues. 

Symptoms of Eosinophilia

The symptoms of eosinophilia depend upon the related condition. For example, eosinophilia due to asthma have symptoms such as wheezing and breathlessness, while parasitic infections may show abdominal pain, diarrhea, rash, fever, or cough. 

Uncommon symptoms of eosinophilia include weight loss, night sweats, lymph node enlargement, and numbness and tingling due to nerve damage.

Diagnosis of Eosinophilia

The diagnosis of eosinophilia in the bloodstream can be made by a simple blood test. Tissue eosinophilia is diagnosed by skin biopsy where the related tissue is examined under a microscope. In complex cases where the diagnosis is difficult then further tests such as blood tests to determine the levels of antibodies, chest X-ray, CT scans of chest and abdomen, skin or lung biopsies, assessment of the bone marrow, and bronchoscopy may be recommended.  

Treatment for Eosinophilia

Treatment of eosinophilia depends upon the principle cause of the condition, whether it is an allergy, a medicine reaction, or a parasitic infection. These treatments are generally effective.  

Eosinophil-Associated Gastrointestinal Disorders (EGIDs)

EGIDs are a set of diseases illustrated by a large variety of gastrointestinal symptoms including nausea or vomiting, diarrhea, swallowing problems, food impaction, poor appetite, abdominal pain, slow growth, and bleeding. These symptoms arise in combination with increased numbers of eosinophils in the gastrointestinal lining. Based on the part of the GI tract affected, EGIDs can be categorized as:

  • Eosinophilic Esophagitis (EE) involves only the esophagus and is the most common form.
  • Eosinophilic Gastritis (EG) signifies eosinophils infiltrating the stomach
  • Eosinophilic Gastroenteritis (EGE) involves the stomach and/or the small intestine.
  • Eosinophilic Colitis (EC) illustrates the occurrence of high levels of eosinophils in the large intestine.

Diagnosis of Eosinophil-Associated Gastrointestinal Disorders(EGIDs)

The diagnosis of EGID involves various blood tests, endoscopy and biopsy, and allergy testing such as skin prick, RAST, and patch testing. It is to be noted that biopsy is the best method to confirm the diagnosis.

Treatment for Eosinophil-Associated Gastrointestinal Disorders

The treatment of EGID basically involves dietary management and medications. Dietary therapy normally is directed by a complete allergic evaluation of foods and aeroallergens. This includes food trails, and elimination of dietary components such as certain proteins, carbohydrates, and sugars causing allergic reactions. Medications include steroids, anti-inflammatory drugs, and other medicines employed for treating associated disease conditions.

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