What is Basophilia?
Basophilia is a condition where there is an abnormal increase in the number of basophils in the blood. Basophils are a type of white blood cells and are produced in the bone marrow. Among all the types of white blood cells, basophils are present in the minimum quantity, i.e. there are less than 3% of basophils present in the blood. The function of the basophils is mainly wound repairing along with maintaining the immune system. They work on the attacking bacteria and other parasites to protect the body from illnesses.
What are the Causes of Basophilia?
Patient will commonly have other white cell abnormalities along with basophilia. Some of the possible causes or conditions which will lead to Basophilia are:
Lymphoma: The basophils can be abnormally increased in various lymphomas, such as Hodgkin's Lymphoma. This is a type of cancer, which involves the lymphatic system where the lymph nodes are palpable and become enlarged.
Cancer: Cancers which affect the epithelial layer of the blood vessels and internal organs may also elevate the basophils in the blood. Basophilia is a common finding in myelocytic leukemia.
Iron Deficiency Anemia: Individuals with iron deficiency anemia can also have basophilia.
What are the Symptoms of Basophilia?
Symptoms depend on the cause of basophilia. Some of the symptoms of basophilia are:
- If a patient has basophilia due to allergy, then he/she experiences symptoms of pruritus (itching) due to the release of histamine.
- Basophilia patient with myeloproliferative neoplasms will have spleen enlargement with symptoms, such as abdominal discomfort and feeling of fullness.
- Patients with anemia as a cause of basophilia will experience persistent fatigue, weakness and headache.
- Patient with thyroid problems as the cause of basophilia will have muscle aches, constipation, unintentional weight gain and joint stiffness.
What are the Treatment Options for Basophilia?
Treatment of basophilia consists of treating the underlying condition which has caused the excessive production of basophils in the bone marrow. Basophilia related to infections, allergy or thyroid condition is usually not a cause for concern as the basophilia gets resolved with treatment/medication. However, if basophilia occurs as a result of bone marrow cancer, then it is a serious matter and requires immediate treatment.
- Bone marrow transplant can be done in severe cases, such as leukemia.
- Anti-allergic medications are prescribed for basophilia developing from allergic conditions, which lead to respiratory illnesses.
- In case of hypothyroidism related basophilia, taking the right medication brings the level of basophils back to normal.
- In case of hypothyroidism related basophilia, taking the right medication brings the basophils level back to normal.
- Antibiotics are prescribed for treating basophilia occurring as a result of bacterial infections.
- If iron deficiency anemia is the cause of basophilia, then treatment is done by taking supplemental iron therapy, which will resolve basophilia along with other blood cell abnormalities.