There are different types of white cells circulating in blood and one of them is called basophils. Basophilia is a term used when there is increase of basophils in circulating blood. Bone marrow produces basophils. Often this white blood cell is also referred as basophil granulocyte because of the granule present in the nucleus of the cell when seen under microscope.
Basophils do not circulate in large number in blood as other white blood cells. Just like other white blood cells, basophils also protect the body against foreign body that enters into the body. These foreign elements can be bacteria, viruses, etc. It also helps in repairing wound and maintaining strong immunity. When bacteria and parasites enter into the system they act on them.
A chronic inflammation can cause increase in basophils. Basophilia can be checked with a simple blood test. It is usually seen in myeloproliferative disorders such as polycythemia vera, hypothyroidism etc.
What Are The Common Causes Of Basophilia?
There are several conditions that can cause basophilia. Patient may also have other white cell abnormalities along with basophilia.
- Myelocytic Leukemia: It is a type of blood cancer in which the epithelial layer of blood vessel and internal organs are affected. Such type of cancer has increased amount of basophils in the circulating blood. Basophilia is one of the prominent indicator if myelocytic leukemia.
- Lymphoma: Increased number of basophils commonly seen in certain forms of lymphomas, especially Hodgkin’s disease.
- Infections: Infections such as tuberculosis, influenza and chickenpox can lead to rise in number of basophils in circulating blood.
- Chronic inflammation: Conditions such as rheumatism as well as chronic eczema may produce high rise of basophils.
- Allergy: Rhinitis, drug allergy, food allergy and urticaria are conditions that may cause basophilia in blood. It is because of the histamine produced by the immune system of the body.
- Anemia: Iron deficiency anemia can lead to remarkable rise in basophil activity in blood.
- Hypothyrodism or diabetes mellitus: Both are endocrinal diseases. In both these condition the peripheral smear of blood shows rise in number of basophils.
Signs And Symptoms Of Basophilia
By now you know that several conditions can give rise to basophilia. Following symptoms may be present along with basophilia in related disease. For example:
- In iron deficiency anemia, patient may complain of fatigue, weakness, loss of appetite, skin pallor, breathlessness, headache etc.
- In case of hypothyroidism, along with rise in basophils in blood smear, symptoms noted are constipation, weight gain, non pitting edema, muscle pain etc.
- Myeloproliferative leukemia may present with enlargement of spleen, fullness of abdomen or discomfort of abdomen.
- Patient having allergic rhinitis or food allergy may have basophilia when their blood smear is examined under microscope.
Treatment Options For Basophilia
Basophilia is not a disease in itself but an indicator of certain conditions. Hence the main aim is to treat the condition that has triggered increased number of basophils in the bone marrow. For example:
- Bone marrow transplant may be necessary in case of myeloproliferative leukemia.
- If allergy is the cause, anti allergic medicines is useful to reduce histamine level in the body. This medicine will also act in reducing the basophil production.
- Antibiotics may be necessary in case of bacterial infection.
- Basophil level in blood returns back to normal once patient suffering from hypothyroidism starts taking medicines.
- Number of basophil count reduces once the anemia is corrected in patient suffering from iron deficiency.