What is Eosinophilic Asthma?
Eosinophilic Asthma is a variant of asthma that is characterized by high levels of eosinophils which is a form of a white blood cell. Studies estimate that around 25 million Americans have some form of asthma and among them around 15-20% are those who have the most severe form of asthma which is refractory to most forms of treatment for this condition. Eosinophilic Asthma is one such form of asthma in which the affected individual has severe symptoms that are refractory to standard care.
Generally speaking, Eosinophilic Asthma occurs very rarely with only about 5% of people having it. The presenting features of Eosinophilic Asthma are similar to that of the standard asthma but the symptoms are extremely severe. The inflammation of the airways is significant and there is blockage caused by fluid and mucous. This makes it very difficult for the individual to breathe.
The only difference between general asthmas and Eosinophilic Asthma is that there are abnormally high levels of eosinophils associated with this condition. The abnormally high levels of eosinophils cause the airways to get severely inflamed. The sinuses and the nasal passages also get blocked as a result of this inflammation. As the levels of eosinophils increase the severity of the symptoms also increases.
Eosinophilic Asthma is mostly seen in people between the age ranges of 25 and 35 years. This is quite a difficult condition to treat and severely dent the quality of life of the affected individual. This article gives a brief overview of some of the causes of Eosinophilic Asthma and different ways to manage the condition.
What Are The Symptoms Of Eosinophilic Asthma?
The primary presenting features of Eosinophilic Asthma are quite similar to that of the symptoms of asthma. It is only just that the symptoms are very severe and refractory to treatment. The symptoms of Eosinophilic Asthma include difficulty breathing along with audible wheezing. The affected individual will have a tightness feeling in the chest with persistent bouts of coughing. There will be continuous nasal drainage with a stuffy nose. The individual will lose the sense of smell due to obstruction of the nasal passage.
An individual with Eosinophilic Asthma should consult a physician if the shortness of breath is severe and the cough does not improve with medications. A visit to a physician is also recommended if there is a persistent sensation of tightness in the chest. it is necessary to get a diagnosis of Eosinophilic Asthma and start treatment immediately since the inflammation caused due to this condition can often lead to permanent damage like scarring of the lung tissue which is incurable.
It is also recommended for people with Asthma to get checked up at least twice a year with the physician to ensure that the treatment plan designed for them is working fine. Some of the symptoms of Eosinophilic Asthma that require immediate medical attention include feeling dizzy and finding it extremely difficult to do any activities without problems with breathing. A visit to the emergency room is warranted in cases where the affected individual has not relief with instant relief medication for over 15 minutes duration.
The individual suffering from Eosinophilic Asthma should be taken to the emergency room if he or she is unable to speak or walk. If the lips and nails become cyanotic and the breathing results in the nostrils to flare then also it is an emergent medical situation and 911 should be called.
How is Eosinophilic Asthma Treated?
With regard to treatment, Eosinophilic Asthma is a condition in which most standard forms of treatment for asthma do not work. However, corticosteroids and antibiotics in relatively high doses are recommended to treat the condition. Some scientists refer asthma as a medical condition under which different respiratory diseases including Eosinophilic Asthma come. They feel that every subtype of asthma requires a separate treatment approach, including Eosinophilic Asthma.
For Eosinophilic Asthma, corticosteroids were considered to be extremely effective; however, most people were unable to control their symptoms and the rate of dependency on this medication also significantly increased. This is the reason physicians have switched to alternative forms of treatment for Eosinophilic Asthma. The new treatment approach is termed as biologic therapy.
This involves use of leukotriene antagonists to calm down the inflammation seen with Eosinophilic Asthma. Additionally, antibiotics to treat infections like sinusitis are also given to control the symptoms of Eosinophilic Asthma.
In conclusion, Eosinophilic Asthma is a subtype of asthma in which the levels of eosinophils are significantly high. Additionally, the symptoms caused by Eosinophilic Asthma are extremely severe. This significantly dents the quality of life of the patient. The difficulty breathing with Eosinophilic Asthma may reach to such an extent that doing basic activities of daily living will become a challenge for the patient. This form of asthma is also refractory to most forms of treatment used for treating asthma.[1, 2]
This has resulted in extensive research being conducted on finding new innovative ways for treatment of Eosinophilic Asthma. With new advancements being made the overall prognosis of Eosinophilic Asthma has significantly improved from what it was a few years back. It is common for people with Eosinophilic Asthma to have frequent periods of flare-ups and at times using steroids for treating it for long periods of time make them dependent on this medication.
This may lead to significant side effects which can affect the overall health of the individual. In rare cases, Eosinophilic Asthma can also prove to life threatening especially in the elderly people or who have a compromised immune system. Thus it is mandatory for people with Eosinophilic Asthma to adhere to the treatment recommendations made by their physicians and follow up diligently to prevent any unwarranted complications arising from this very severe form of asthma. As of now, ongoing research is being done to find out better and more effective ways to treat Eosinophilic Asthma.
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