Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell in our body that helps fight off parasitic infections and cancers. They also play a role in allergic reactions. They make up a small fraction of our white blood cells, and the number of eosinophils in our blood can vary over time. If the number of eosinophils in your bloodstream or organs are elevated, you may have an eosinophil-associated disease.
Although many diseases are caused by an increasing number of eosinophils in your body, we will focus on what is, and the background behind eosinophilic asthma.
What is Eosinophilic Asthma (e-asthma)?
Eosinophilic asthma is a subtype of asthma that is normally seen in adults ranging from 35-50 years of age, although it can occur in children and young adults as well. If you have asthma, the number of eosinophils are high in your blood, lung tissue, or mucus and coughed up from your respiratory tract, you likely have e-asthma.
Unfortunately, the cause for e-asthma remains unknown. However, those with e-asthma do not usually have any disease-related allergies that provoke asthma symptoms. There are many ongoing clinical trials that center around therapies to control e-asthma symptoms.
Eosinophilic asthma has similar symptoms to classic asthma. However, the symptoms are more severe and constant. These include:
- Shortness of breath
- Airflow obstruction
- Chronic rhinitis with nasal polyps
- Inflamed nasal mucous membrane
If you have severe asthma, levels of eosinophils by analyzing your blood, sputum, saliva, or conducting a bronchial biopsy (tiny forceps passed through a channel of the bronchoscope into your lungs).
Although e-asthma has been established for many years, there are now new treatments that can reduce eosinophils.
Biologic therapies that target eosinophils may be prescribed to treat eosinophilic asthma.
Biologics that are currently approved for use in the U.S. include the following
- Benralizumab: antibody that binds Interleukin-5 (IL-5) receptors. 12 years and older
- Dupilumab: Interleukin-4 (IL-4) and Interleukin-13 (IL-13) inhibitor and binds to the IL-4 alpha receptor. 12 years and older
- Mepolizumab: an antibody that recognizes and blocks Interleukin-5 (IL-5). 6 years and older
- Reslizumab: an antibody that recognizes and blocks Interleukin-5 (IL-5). 18 years and older
Many treatments and therapies are underway to improve the lives of many with eosinophilic asthma.
If you or someone you know suffer from severe asthma, our board-certified providers are ready to help you find the right treatment for you. Call 210-616-0882 to schedule your appointment today.