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What Are the Causes of Eosinophilia?

Inhaled corticosteroids can be used to treat eosinophilia.
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  • Written By: Rebecca Harkin
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 18 September 2014
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One of the most common causes of eosinophilia is an allergic reaction or diseases that are related to an excessive response from the immune system. An infection from a parasite such as roundworm and hookworm can also cause the condition. Eosinophilia may also be caused by some cancers, autoimmune diseases or lung diseases. The signs of eosinophilia are variable and depend on the conditions causing this medical problem. Treating eosinophilia begins with identifying the cause of this condition and then employing oral, topical or inhaled corticosteroids.

Eosinophils are white blood cells that destroy foreign particles and advance the inflammation process that confines an infection. The medical condition eosinophilia results when there is a prolonged elevation in the normal number of eosinophils in the body. An allergic reaction initiates an inflammatory response to immobilize and contain the foreign substances, resulting in a rush of eosinophils to the irritated site. As a result, a prolonged allergic reaction to an environmental stimuli, medication or food is one of the most common causes of eosinophilia. For the same reason, an isolating inflammatory response, or an immune reaction to a parasitic or fungal infection, are other common causes of eosinophilia.

Other medial problems can result in eosinophilia for two reasons. First, diseases like cancer can overstimulate the bone marrow to generate excess eosinophils. Second, these afflictions can cause high concentrations of eosinophils to localize at tumor sites or within damaged tissue.

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The signs of eosinophilia vary greatly based on the cause of this condition. Fungal and parasitic infections causing eosinophilia can produce abdominal discomfort, diarrhea, and mouth sores. Eosinophilia caused by fungal or parasitic invasions may even produce pneumonia. In rare cases, the symptoms may include enlarged lymph nodes, weight loss and rashes.

Treatment of eosinophilia involves first identifying the cause of the condition. This will be done by reviewing the patient’s medical history, and tracking his diet and medications to find a potential allergen. Skin tests may be ordered to confirm the suspected allergy. Suspected fungal and parasitic infections will be identified by reviewing the patient’s recent travels and possible exposure.

Once the cause of the eosinophilia has been identified, the medical condition will be treated. In addition, the patient may be given corticosteroid therapy in a form that is best suited to the patient and the cause. Corticosteroid may be prescribed in an oral, inhaled or topical form. Most eosinophilia can be corrected over time.

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