The human blood system is much more than just the blood circulating in the body to provide enough oxygenation and nutrients for the body. In the bloodstream, beside the red blood cells, there are also the white blood cells. White blood cells play an important part in the immune system as it helps protect humans from infections or inflammation that could make a person go sick. One of the white blood cells that gives parameters to so many diseases is eosinophil. You can easily see the number of eosinophils from a blood test. Of course, always ask a doctor when you have questions about the result of the blood test.
Eosinophils are produced in the bone marrow. It is present in all body tissues but highest in the respiratory and digestive systems. Eosinophil usually accounts for less than 7% of the total white blood circulating in the body. A normal eosinophil count is around 100 to 500 cells per microlitre of blood or usually seen in lab reports as 0.1 to <0.5 x 109/L. Most healthy people have 0.5 to 1% of all white blood cells and rarely exceed 5%. Bear in mind that these values may vary slightly from one to another laboratory. Always seek doctor’s advice if you have questions regarding this matter.
High eosinophils mean the number of eosinophils exceeds the normal range. It is also known as eosinophilia. Eosinophilia can be caused by a number of health conditions. It can be an indicator that the body is producing more eosinophil in an attempt to ward off bacteria, virus or parasite associated with infection. Most infections causing eosinophilia are parasitic infections. Eosinophilia may also indicate an allergic disorder during an allergic reaction or a person with asthma. In some cases, it may also be a sign of cancer including leukaemia, Hodgkin lymphoma or myeloproliferative neoplasms.
Since high eosinophils can be caused by many medical conditions, symptoms relating to eosinophilia depend on the affected organ. People might not exhibit any symptoms if the number of eosinophilia is slightly high and this number may only be discovered during a complete blood count blood test for other health conditions. Although, sometimes the number can get very high and this increasing number of eosinophilia may have caused inflammation to the tissues and damaged organs. Most often, skin, lung, heart and nervous systems are affected by any organ that can still sustain damage. For instance, if the heart is affected, fatigue can be seen or if the oesophagus or stomach is affected, pain in the throat and stomach can be felt. Common symptoms include skin rash, wheezing and shortness of breath or breathing difficulty is typical in allergic reactions or asthma. Symptoms such as low-grade fever, night sweats, weight loss and fatigue are often linked with the possibility of cancer.
Usually, people meet a doctor because they have symptoms that are associated with common causes of eosinophilia such as infections. For instance, when a person shows symptoms associated with infections and has been treated with antibiotics yet shows no signs of improvement, doctors may opt for a biopsy procedure (taking a sample of tissue to be examined) that will show eosinophils within the affected organs. This helps doctors to give better and specific treatment to help ease the symptoms.
In a nutshell, high eosinophils can be an indicator of many medical problems. A person with eosinophilia may or may not exhibit any symptoms. Treatment to treat high eosinophil depends on the diseases underlying such conditions. It is best to do a regular medical check-up to know if you are susceptible to any diseases and to take prevention steps. It also helps you to identify risk for diseases and help to plan for your future health.