Basophilia: what is it and how to treat it?
Basophilia is an excess of the level of basophils in the blood. This condition itself is not a disease. It accompanies other pathologies, which can sometimes pose a threat to life. Basophils are referred to as BA or BASO on the blood test form.
Basophils are a type of white blood cell. They are produced in the bone marrow and help the body fight various infections. Basophils are the smallest cells among other leukocytes (neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes) of the granulocytic series.
Basophils are small. Immediately after they are born in the bone marrow, they enter the tissues. There is no reserve of them in the body. The life span of basophils is no more than 7 days.
Basophils carry receptors for immunoglobulin E, they also produce histamine and other substances that are involved in the process of blood clotting. Thanks to their work, the body produces the anticoagulant heparin.
In tissues, basophils are represented by mast cells, which are called mast cells. Basophils are present in the skin, in the connective tissue that surrounds the capillaries, as well as in the serous membranes. The level of basophils in the blood is 0-1%, but if the body needs them, these values will quickly increase. So, the excess of the relative values of basophils by 1% and the absolute values of more than 0.65 * 10 9 / l indicates the development of an inflammatory or allergic reaction.
- Basophilia reasons
- Allergic reaction and basophilia
- Basophilia symptoms
- Diagnostics of the basophilia
- What if the basophil level is elevated?
Basophils are an integral part of the immune system. They are involved in the formation of an allergic reaction, their level rises in response to the penetration of helminths into the body. At the site of allergic inflammation, the level of basophils, eosinophils and immunoglobulin E will simultaneously increase.
The causes of basophilia can be as follows:
- Acute infectious diseases provoked by the viruses of the common cold or chickenpox.
- Allergic reaction of the body.
- Infection of the body with helminths.
- Donor blood transfusion.
- Inflammatory reaction in the body: tuberculosis, ulcerative colitis, sinusitis, hepatitis, nephrosis.
- The period of ovulation in a woman.
- Hypothyroidism, diabetes mellitus, increased levels of estrogen in the blood and other endocrine pathologies.
- Taking medications for the treatment of thyroiditis and taking estrogens.
- Anemia with low levels of hemoglobin in the blood.
- Emotional upheavals.
- Postponed surgery to remove the spleen.
Diseases of the hematopoietic system: myeloid leukemia (acute and chronic), polycythemia vera and erythremia.
- Diseases of an autoimmune nature: rheumatoid arthritis and dermatitis.
- Hodgkin's disease.
- The introduction of the vaccine into the human body.
There is no such concept in medicine as “low level of basophils”. Basophils can be present in the blood either normally (0-1%) or elevated. Moreover, a jump in their level often occurs instantly.
Many blood counts in a person undergo changes with age, but this rule does not apply to basophils. Moreover, in newborns, they are most often not found at all. However, when a child begins to cry, when he is introduced to the first complementary food, or he is sick, the level of basophils in the blood rises.
If in the general analysis of human blood there is a significant excess of the values of basophils, then this, first of all, makes one think that a foreign antigen has entered the body. As a result, an immune response develops, which consists in an increase in the number of basophils in the blood. Moreover, this response can be very rapid and even life-threatening (anaphylactic shock).
Women with basophilia need to check their hormonal status first. Often, an increase in the level of basophils in the blood indicates developing thyroiditis. Other symptoms of this disorder are: decreased performance, hearing impairment, obesity, edema of the eye orbits.
Radiologists who regularly receive minimal doses of radiation will also have increased basophil counts in their blood.
Basophilia is not always a sign of any disease. It may indicate a high level of estrogen in the blood during ovulation. Also, the values of these blood cells increase in the first trimester of pregnancy.
Allergic reaction and basophilia
An increase in the level of basophils in the blood will be observed with an immediate and delayed allergic reaction.
An immediate allergic reaction is a life-threatening condition that requires emergency medical attention. It develops very quickly and is characterized by damage to the body's own tissues. An example of such a reaction is anaphylactic shock, Quincke's edema, urticaria.
An allergic reaction of a delayed type is formed over several days. It can manifest itself as contact dermatitis, asthma, and autoimmune diseases.
Basophilia develops in response to an increase in the concentration of immunoglobulin E in the blood, which reacts to antigens of an allergen that has entered the body. At the start of anaphylactic shock or other immediate type of allergic reaction, the level of basophils in the blood decreases, as all cells rush to the pathological focus. Bone marrow compensates for their shortage quickly. With an allergic reaction of a delayed type, basophils will be produced for several days.
In adults, allergy is most often characterized by a chronic course, manifested by pollinosis, conjunctivitis, bronchial asthma, dermatitis. In this case, the level of basophils in the blood will be in the range of 1-2%.
There are no specific symptoms that would indicate an increase in the level of basophils in the blood. They depend a lot on what exactly led to basophilia.
If an infection has become a provoking factor, then it is its symptoms that will come to the fore. A person's body temperature rises, general health worsens. The rest of the symptoms depend on the type of pathogen.
If basophilia is the result of an allergen entering the body, then the patient has the following complaints:
- Mucus flow from the nose.
- Burning and itching eyes.
- Skin rashes.
- Swelling of tissues.
- Asthmatics often have asthma attacks.
Anaphylaxis is the most severe allergic reaction in which a person loses consciousness, his blood pressure drops sharply. Medical assistance must be provided urgently, otherwise the person will die. Anaphylactic shock develops in a few seconds.
If basophilia is a consequence of intestinal diseases, then a person experiences the following symptoms:
- Abdominal cramps and pains.
- The appearance of blood in the feces.
The presence of chronic inflammation in the body, accompanied by an increase in the level of basophils in the blood, is expressed by the following symptoms:
- Muscle pain.
- Swelling of tissues.
- An increase in body temperature to subfebrile levels.
- Numbness of the limbs.
- Skin rashes.
In myeloproliferative disorders, a person develops the following symptoms:
- Weakness increases.
- Headaches occur.
- Eyesight deteriorates.
- Bruises appear on the skin.
- Bones begin to ache.
However, the main reason for the increase in basophils in the blood is still an allergic reaction, which gives the corresponding symptoms.
Increased basophil levels in a child
Normally, the level of basophils in a child is slightly lower than that of an adult. Their values do not exceed 0.5%. However, this difference is conditional. In childhood, an increase in basophils in one milliliter of blood up to 1% is not considered a pathology.
If a child is nevertheless diagnosed with basophilia, then most often this indicates a helminthic invasion, or an allergic reaction of the body. If blood sampling was carried out after the next preventive vaccination was administered, then basophilia is a normal reaction of the body.
Diagnostics of the basophilia
To determine the level of basophils in the blood, it is necessary to perform its clinical analysis. Modern devices most often calculate the leukocyte formula. At the same time, basophils are in the MID group - medium cells or in the GRN group - granulocytes. If the indicators of these populations are within the normal range, then the number of basophils is not counted separately.
When there are abnormalities in the leukocyte count, the doctor may prescribe a second blood test with smear microscopy. High-tech devices are able to distinguish all 5 types of leukocytes. Basophils will be designated in the data decryption as BA (BAS).
What if the basophil level is elevated?
Most often, an increase in the level of basophils in the blood does not require any specific treatment. Moreover, there is no therapy for basophilia. After all, this condition is not an independent pathology, but only a consequence of some disorder in the body. Therefore, treatment should be aimed at eliminating it. After the inflammatory or other reaction is arrested, the basophil level will return to normal.
Treatment of an allergic reaction involves eliminating the allergen, taking antihistamines, and using glucocorticoids. With anaphylactic shock, the patient needs an emergency injection of adrenaline.
Rheumatoid arthritis is treated with anti-inflammatory drugs and immunosuppressants.
Bacterial infections require antibiotics. With helminthic invasion, it is necessary to take anthelmintic drugs.
If basophilia is a consequence of iron deficiency anemia, then a person needs to revise his diet, including more red meat, liver, eggs. You may need to take iron supplements to increase hemoglobin levels.
In rare cases, basophilia is a sign of blood cancer. However, in addition to basophils, a blood test will reveal a decrease or increase in the level of leukocytes, platelets and erythrocytes. Suspicion of blood cancer requires consultation with an oncologist and a hematologist with a comprehensive diagnosis. Treatment involves stem cell transplantation, chemotherapy or radiotherapy.
As for the prognosis, with a mild course of infection, basophils return to normal quickly enough. You just have to wait for the body to recover. You definitely need to rest more and spend time in the fresh air.
Allergies and inflammation of internal organs often become chronic and recur periodically. At the same time, the level of basophils in the blood will increase.
Severe oncological diseases require an individual approach and long-term treatment.
So, basophilia is not a disease, but a symptom of a disease. Therefore, efforts should be directed to treating the cause that led to an increase in the level of basophils in the blood.
Article author: Mochalov Pavel Alexandrovich | d. m. n. therapist
Education: Moscow Medical Institute. IM Sechenov, specialty - "General Medicine" in 1991, in 1993 "Occupational Diseases", in 1996 "Therapy".