People often use the term asthma to describe something they think is a single condition. However, there are different types of asthma out there that affect the body in different ways.
One of these is eosinophilic asthma. This particularly troubling form of asthma presents a serious problem to the people with it and to healthcare providers. This is because eosinophilic asthma’s causes, symptoms, and treatment approaches differ from other kinds.
So, how exactly do they differ? This article will explore the details behind eosinophilic asthma to show how.
What Is Eosinophilic Asthma?
Like other forms of asthma, eosinophilic asthma comes from a problem in the lungs. In this particular case, problems are created when white blood cells called eosinophils accumulate in the lungs at high levels. Normally, these white blood cells are helpful and are there to fight infections. When they are at the right levels, eosinophils are important to a healthy individual’s immune system.
However, they can reach a point where their help is harmful. High levels of eosinophils can overreact to stimuli and cause inflammation. Inflammation like this in the lungs leads to problems typically exhibited by people with asthma.
Unfortunately, eosinophilic asthma is pretty severe and can often be more severe than other forms of asthma. It is typically associated with an increased response to allergies. However, it also responds to non-allergic triggers.
To make matters worse, treatments for other forms of asthma may not be as effective with eosinophilic asthma. This is particularly true in certain groups, including Black patients.
Eosinophilic Asthma Symptoms
Overall, the symptoms of eosinophilic asthma are very similar to those of other types of asthma. These include labored breathing, nasal congestion, tightness in the chest, eye irritation, and excessive coughing and wheezing (particularly coughing and wheezing that worsens at night).
Eosinophilic asthma is slightly different from other forms of asthma in the way it presents itself. Typically, this form of asthma develops in adulthood rather than in childhood, making it the top possibility for anyone who develops asthma later in life. On top of this, eosinophilic asthma responds to more non-allergenic triggers and is less likely to respond to traditional asthma treatments.
The best way to tell the difference between eosinophilic asthma and other forms of asthma is through the presence of elevated levels of eosinophils in an individual. These will be present in the blood, the lungs, and even in mucus. Saliva, breath, and mucus are often tested to confirm eosinophilic asthma.
Trying to keep on top of the latest medical news? Subscribe and get MD Newsline’s updates sent straight to your inbox!
Eosinophilic Asthma Treatments
Treatment for eosinophilic asthma starts by confirming that the person dealing with it has eosinophilic asthma and not some other form of asthma. This is done through one of the tests discussed earlier. It also involves working with a doctor to see if the symptoms match the condition.
Once an individual has been diagnosed with eosinophilic asthma, treatment moves on to a form of therapy. What therapy is used will depend on how asthma responds to treatments.
Common Eosinophilic Asthma Treatments
In most cases, eosinophilic asthma is treated in a way that is similar to other forms of asthma. If these treatments prove ineffective, more advanced options can be used later.
Common treatment options often include a medicine designed to help treat airway swelling. This is usually an inhaled corticosteroid, which many people already associate with asthma. It also includes a medicine designed to relieve symptoms when a rescue option is needed quickly.
The person with asthma will work with a healthcare professional to determine how these are used. This includes how often they will be taken. The medications may need to be taken on a daily basis, or they may only be necessary whenever symptoms flare up. In either case, their use should align with a healthcare professional’s instructions.
Serious Eosinophilic Asthma Treatments
Sometimes, eosinophilic asthma is resistant to traditional treatments, which tends to be the case for eosinophilic asthma more often than other types of asthma. In these cases, working together with a healthcare professional is even more important. This is because more intense treatments are available.
These treatments include biological options, which involve monoclonal antibody therapy. With this type of therapy, individual immune system pathways are targeted. This prevents swelling and alleviates the intensity of symptoms. This therapy is delivered through an injection or by IV on a regular basis.
With some of these monoclonal antibody therapies, like benralizumab, the level of eosinophils in the blood is reduced. This goes on to prevent many of the problems these eosinophils cause from becoming a problem in the first place.
Looking for ways to improve patient outcomes? Find out how our solutions may be able to help!
How Does Eosinophilic Asthma Affect Your Life?
All types of asthma, including eosinophilic asthma, carry some level of risk with them. This is particularly true if the asthma is uncontrolled. In these cases, asthma increases an individual’s risk of medical issues. These range from having to go to the hospital more often to death.
On top of this, eosinophilic asthma often presents as a severe form of asthma. Severe types of asthma have an impact on your life as a whole. They make it harder to participate in physical activities, making work and recreation difficult. In some cases, severe asthma can be debilitating.
However, with treatment, this can all change. People with eosinophilic asthma who receive treatment can still live relatively normal lives. They also have a significantly reduced chance of experiencing the more severe problems associated with untreated asthma.
This is why treatment is so necessary. People in underserved communities and those who don’t have access to healthcare often suffer from eosinophilic asthma to far greater degrees than those outside of these situations.
Dealing With Eosinophilic Asthma
Eosinophilic asthma presents in a way that can be extremely different from other types of asthma. It can be more severe, harder to treat, and generally more dangerous. Understanding this is the first step in dealing with the problem and preventing it from becoming a serious issue. After that, proper treatment can be administered.