What Is Eosinophilic Asthma?

May 23, 2024 | Asthma Care Standards, Control Your Asthma!

If you’ve never heard of “eosinophilic” asthma, you’re not alone. It’s rare compared to other types of asthma, but it can be severe.

Asthmaniac, your online asthma doctor, can help with your diagnosis. In the meantime, here’s an overview of what eosinophilic asthma is and how sufferers can control their asthma.

What Is Eosinophilic Asthma?

Eosinophilic asthma is a subtype of asthma conditions. It’s caused by high numbers of eosinophils (a type of white blood cell) in the bloodstream.

Normally, these white blood cells help your body by fighting off infections. White blood cells cause inflammation, which is normally a helpful process for destroying germs.

For some people, though, the immune system doesn’t respond as expected and the levels of eosinophils are too high. Too much inflammation causes the airways to swell, which leads to breathing difficulties and other signs of severe asthma.

Is Eosinophilic Asthma More Severe?

What’s concerning about this condition is that yes – it’s often associated with severe asthma. If it’s not managed properly, it can reduce a person’s quality of life and cause more frequent asthma attacks.

The good news is that there are treatment options available to help manage the condition. We’re more than happy to discuss possible management strategies with you – book a consultation online today.

Who Does Eosinophilic Asthma Affect?

Eosinophilic asthma causes are still not fully understood, but here’s what we do know about this condition.

  • It typically affects adults aged between 35 and 50 who don’t have allergies.
  • Since it often presents as shortness of breath rather than wheezing, it may not seem like asthma at first.
  • Children and young adults can develop the condition, but it’s rare.

If you’re an adult developing asthma for the first time, you should be checked for this subtype of asthma.

What Triggers Eosinophilic Asthma?

It’s unclear what causes eosinophilic asthma. Unlike some other forms of asthma, which may be triggered by allergens, viruses, or even exercise, there are no obvious reasons why people develop eosinophilic asthma.

Since there’s no obvious trigger, treatment can be more difficult. This is because asthma management often involves avoiding triggers, such as dust or high intensity exercise. However, we’re here to help – contact Asthmaniac to discuss a possible management strategy.

Graphic of doctors listening to lung sounds inspecting lungs for asthma signs

Eosinophilic Asthma Symptoms

The symptoms of eosinophilic asthma vary. However, the most common symptoms associated with this condition are:

  • Chest tightness
  • Chronic sinus infections
  • Coughing
  • Diminished or lost sense of smell
  • Nasal congestion
  • Nasal polyps
  • Shortness of breath
  • Wheezing

Eosinophilic asthma can cause severe symptoms. However, these symptoms can be caused by other conditions. It’s important you receive an accurate diagnosis from a healthcare provider if you think you may have a respiratory condition.

Diagnosing Eosinophilic Asthma

This subtype of asthma may be suspected in adults with asthma which does not respond well to treatment.

  • If eosinophilic asthma is suspected, your doctor may run a test on your white blood cells to check your eosinophil count.
  • Tests such as lung function tests may also be performed to check for swelling in the airways.
  • Other signs, such as nasal polyps, could indicate you are dealing with this type of asthma.

Signs of an Asthma Attack

As with any other form of asthma, it’s important to know the signs that your condition is not properly controlled. Otherwise, you’re at an increased risk of an asthma attack. 

Signs that you may need an asthma review include:

  • Disrupted sleep caused by wheezing, coughing, or chest tightness
  • Inability to perform your normal daily activities
  • Reduced peak flow readings
  • Using your rescue inhaler more frequently

You should seek medical attention if you develop the following symptoms:

  • Blue lips or fingers
  • Fast breathing and heart rate
  • Severe chest tightness
  • Inability to have a conversation due to breathing difficulties
  • No relief from your usual asthma medication

These are signs you may be having an asthma attack which requires prompt medical care.

Eosinophilic Asthma Treatment

Eosinophilic asthma is hard – but not impossible – to manage. 

The condition doesn’t respond well to inhaled corticosteroids, which is a first-line asthma treatment. Fortunately, there is a new type of medication that is very effective for controlling eosinophilic asthma. 

This medication is injected weekly, using a fine needle and syringe, a short distance under the skin. Research studies have demonstrated a potent effect of this type of medicine for reducing inflammation in the airways and cutting down on asthma attacks, oral glucocorticoid dependence, and rescue inhaler use. 

Since eosinophilic asthma treatment is more aggressive, it can cause more severe side effects. These should be discussed with a doctor so you understand the pros and cons.

How Asthmaniac Can Help With Your Eosinophilic Asthma Diagnosis

Do you have eosinophilic asthma? Asthmaniac, your online asthma doctor, can help. Use our telemedicine consultation services to discuss your condition, review your medicine, and devise a treatment plan. We can even update or change your prescription if required – all from the comfort of your own home.

To find out more about what eosinophilic asthma is, or to book an asthma review, contact us now.

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