What is Eosinophilic Asthma?

Asthma is a common medical condition that relates shortness of breath, lung wheezing to a Chronic Disease of the Airway. Eosinophilic Asthma is a form of Asthma that is associated with high levels of White Blood Cells called Eosinophils. Inflammation is the key to Asthma and this condition, but the cause may differ.

The variation of symptoms in someone who has Asthma is complicated and large. This means that they can have minimal problems, moderate problems, or severe. The severity of symptoms helps a medical practitioner to understand how to treat the patient. As symptoms improve or worsen – additional changes can be made.

Sometime, no treatment of Asthma is required. This individual may have symptoms that are rarely triggered such as getting sick or intense workout. Often, treatment is an inhaler or several inhalers. There are also some oral medications that can be helpful.

Eosinophilic Asthma often affects those with Severe Asthma. It is be believed that over 50% of those with severe asthma is a result of eosinophilic asthma.

However – in the general population – this condition is very rare with less than 5% of the population.

The Patient with this Condition Has Similar Findings Such As:

1.)  Lungs Airways become inflamed
2.)  Fluid build-up in bronchial
3.)  Increased mucus
4.)  Spasming of airway
5.)  Difficulty breathing
6.)  Wheezing and other respiratory problems

The Differences Between Eosinophilic Asthma and Asthma:

1.)  High level of White blood cells – Eosinophils
2.)  Immune Process Reaction – since these blood cells are part of the WBC system
3.)  High level of Eosinophils cause an inflammation response – this affects airway
4.)  This can also affect the sinus and nasal passage
5.)  As a result – Asthma symptoms worsen
6.)  Often seen in ages 25-35.
7.)  Those with this condition rarely also has allergies
8.)  Can be difficult to treat

Causes

–  Specific cause is not known

–  Asthma not typically induced by triggers such as pollen, pet hair, exercise, cold, etc

Symptoms

–  Shortness of Breath
–  Obstruction of airflow
–  Tightness in Airway
–  Wheezing
–  Stuffy nose
–  Coughing
–  Sinus pressure
–  Chronic sinus infections
–  Nasal drainage
–  Nasal polyps
–  Anosmia – Loss of sense of smell

Diagnosis

This happens after treatment of Asthma with little to no improvement. Often these patients will have several hospitalizations as a result. Additionally, with the presence of sinus related symptoms, additional evaluation and treatment may be indicated.

Blood work will be ordered showing high levels of eosinophils. This can also be evaluated through sputum and saliva or even a biopsy of the bronchial.

Treatment

First line treatment of this condition has traditionally been corticosteroids. The goal was to decrease the inflammation process. However, some people became dependent on this medication and every time it was stopped – symptoms would return.

New treatments – Biologic Therapies – are now being used and investigated. Such medications as Leukotriene Antagonists are used to reduce inflammation.

Antibiotics can be used to help Sinus infections and other problems that accompany this form of asthma.

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