Basophilia, or basophilic disorder, is when your body produces too many basophils. Basophils are a white blood cell type that protects your body from infections. Basophilia may be a sign you have an infection, or it may be a sign of serious medical conditions like leukemia or autoimmune disease.
Basophilia, or basophilic disorder, is a sign your body is producing too many basophils. Basophils are one of the five white blood cell types that protect your body from infections or respond to intruders like parasites, fungi and cancer cells. Basophils drive your body’s reaction to allergens. They’re why you sneeze, cough or have a runny nose during allergy season or anytime you encounter an allergen. If your basophil count is unusually high, it is called basophilia. Basophilia may be a sign you have an infection, or it may be a sign of serious medical conditions like leukemia or autoimmune disease.
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Basophilia happens when you have too many basophils. Several things can cause your basophil count to increase. Sometimes, basophilia symptoms are a sign your body is fighting a serious medical condition like hyperthyroidism or cancer. Other times, these symptoms indicate your body is battling a persistent infection or fending off an allergen.
Basophilia symptoms are similar to many medical conditions. Generally speaking, symptoms may include:
Basophilia is linked to the following conditions, some more serious than others:
Healthcare providers typically diagnose basophilia by taking samples of your blood so they can perform a test called a complete blood count (CBC). This test shows the number and condition of your white blood cells, your red blood cells and your platelets.
Since basophils are a type of white blood cell, your provider may opt for CBC with differential. This test details how many basophils and other white blood cells you have.
Basophilia is more of a sign that something else is going on than it is a diagnosis. If your tests show a high basophil count, your provider might perform a physical examination and additional tests to find out what’s causing basophilia.
A normal basophil count is .5% to 1% of your white blood cell count. This equals about zero to 300 basophils per microliter of blood in healthy adults. Basophil counts that fall outside this range may be a sign you have basophilia. Providers use your basophil count, along with other information such as your medical history and your symptoms, to treat the underlying condition causing your basophilia.
Basophilia can be a sign your body is reacting to allergens or overcoming an infection. It also can indicate more serious medical conditions. Regardless, healthcare providers treat basophilia by treating the underlying medical condition.
Basophilia is typically linked to an underlying medical condition that’s causing your basophil count to be too high. Since you may not be able to prevent the underlying condition, you likely can’t prevent basophilia.
Basophilia is a symptom of underlying medical conditions that cause your basophil count to be too high or too low. Your healthcare provider will perform tests to learn more about your individual situation so they can treat any underlying medical condition.
Basophilia is a sign of underlying problems. Once you know what’s causing your basophilia, you can take steps to manage the underlying condition.
You should contact your healthcare provider any time your basophilia symptoms or other conditions’ symptoms worsen or you develop new symptoms.
Basophilia happens when your body produces too many basophils, the white blood cell type that manages your body’s reactions to allergens. But an abnormal basophil count, or basophilia, may be a sign of more serious medical conditions like leukemia or autoimmune disease. You may want to ask your healthcare provider about basophilia. Here are some questions to consider:
White blood cells are a part of your immune system. There are five total white blood cell types. Each type is responsible for protecting your body from various intruders. In addition to basophils, white blood cells include:
A note from Cleveland Clinic
Basophils — a type of white blood cell — are a part of the chain reaction to allergens that causes allergy symptoms like sneezing and coughing. Basophilia or basophilic disorder is a sign your body is producing too many basophils. A basophil count that’s too high may be a sign you have an infection or a more serious medical condition like leukemia or autoimmune disease. Basophilia symptoms include recurring or frequent infections, feeling feverish, weak and tired, or you have skin rashes, severe itching or swollen joints that don’t get better over time. If you have these symptoms and they don’t go away, contact your healthcare provider. They may recommend tests to check your basophil count so they can diagnose and treat any underlying medical conditions.
Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 11/17/2021.
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