Symptoms: What is basophilia? Causes and symptoms

What is basophilia? Causes and symptoms
Basophilia refers to when there are too many basophils in a person’s blood.

What is basophilia? Causes and symptoms

Although basophilia is not a disease in itself, it can be an important marker for other underlying medical problems. In healthy individuals, basophils represent a minimal amount of the body’s cell population. However, people with basophilia have an abnormally high number.

Basophils are a type of white blood cell (which helps the body fight infection) produced in the bone marrow. However, when a person has basophilia, the increase in white blood cells can be due to a serious cause.


Basophilia rarely exists independently and more often indicates the presence of another condition.


Causes and risk factors in basophilia

The most common causes of basophilia include: infections, allergies, disorders, and diseases characterized by chronic inflammation or myeloproliferative disorders (diseases of the blood and bone marrow).

Causes and symptoms: Infections

Infections often trigger an inflammatory response in the body, which can make a person more likely to develop basophilia. However, the development of basophilia as a result of an infection or acute illness is rare. Certain diseases, such as chickenpox and tuberculosis, can tip the balance towards basophilia.


Allergies and allergic reactions to food and drugs can cause basophilia. The severity of the allergy or response may be associated with the severity of the basophilia.

Basophilia usually indicates the existence of another underlying medical condition

Causes and symptoms: Chronic inflamation

Many disorders and diseases are directly related to chronic inflammation (rheumatoid arthritis, psoriasis, inflammatory bowel disease, Hashimoto’s thyroiditis …). A person with a condition characterized by inflammation may be more likely to develop basophilia.


Myeloproliferative disorders

Myeloproliferative disorders cause the bone marrow to overproduce different types of blood cells, including basophils. These disorders can be: essential thrombocythemia, chronic myelogenous leukemia, primary myelofibrosis, systemic mastocytosis or hypereosinophilic syndrome.



Symptoms of basophilia vary but can include fatigue, abdominal pain, cramps, unexplained weight loss, fever, malaise … However, the symptoms that a person with basophilia experiences vary depending on their underlying medical condition.


Causes and symptoms: Treatment

Treatment of inflammatory conditions, such as rheumatoid arthritis, periorbital cellulitis, interstitial cystitis, Behcet’s syndrome, cerebritis, or chorioretinitis, may include immunosuppressive and anti-inflammatory medications.

Treatment for a myeloproliferative disorder is likely to be complex and will vary depending on an individual’s situation, but could include chemotherapy, radiation therapy, stem cell transplantation, or surgery to remove the spleen.


The prognosis for people or patients with basophilia varies depending on the underlying cause. Mild infections should clear up with rest and treatment. Inflammatory diseases and allergies are often lifelong conditions that can be controlled with medication and, of course, lifestyle changes.

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  1. November 15, 2020

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