Since eosinophilic pneumonia is associated with an infiltration of eosinophils in the lungs, eosinophilic pneumonia treatment is aimed at lowering the number of eosinophils. Scroll down to find out about the causes, symptoms and treatment of eosinophilic pneumonia.
Pneumonia is a respiratory ailment that is characterized by shallow breathing, fever, cough, fatigue, muscle pain, malaise and a variety of other symptoms. These symptoms are caused by lung inflammation and consequent fluid buildup in the lungs. There are many types of pneumonia that are caused due to inhalation of allergens, pathogens or any other environmental pollutants.
Eosinophilic pneumonia is one of the forms of pneumonia that is categorized under eosinophilic lung diseases. It is associated with the infiltration of the lungs by a large number of white blood cells called eosinophils. A high eosinophil count, which is medically referred to as eosinophilia, could be caused due to a wide range of reasons. Eosinophils are white blood cells that strengthen the body’s defenses against parasites or pathogens.
These white blood cells also help in countering the effects of allergens and are produced as a response to inflammation in the body. Infiltration of the lungs by eosinophils, therefore, occurs when one suffers from allergies or pathogenic infections. Given below is some information that will tell you the circumstances under which one is diagnosed with eosinophilic pneumonia along with eosinophilic pneumonia treatment options.
Causes and Symptoms
Eosinophilic pneumonia usually occurs as a result of pathogenic infections, prolonged use of certain medications, systemic diseases or exposure to environmental irritants. People suffering from cancer or chronic diseases have a compromised immune system, and are therefore, at an increased risk of developing this condition. Churg-Strauss syndrome is an autoimmune condition associated with the inflammation of the blood vessels that may lead to eosinophilia. Diagnosis of acute or chronic eosinophilic pneumonia is made after studying the intensity of symptoms and their progression along with the duration for which the symptoms are exhibited by the patient.
If doctors are unable to identify the underlying cause, the condition is diagnosed to be idiopathic eosinophilic pneumonia. Loeffler’s syndrome and pulmonary infiltrates with eosinophilia syndrome are both eosinophilic lung diseases that are associated with the infiltration of eosinophils into the lungs. Loeffler’s syndrome is usually associated with infestation of parasitic worms and the symptoms that one may experience include fatigue, labored breathing, cough, wheezing, shortness of breath and fever.
If treated on time, the infection may start clearing quickly, and the disease may resolve within a month. Pulmonary infiltrates with eosinophilia, however, is a serious form of pulmonary eosinophilia that can cause a variety of distressing symptoms. It can turn into a life-threatening situation in the absence of treatment.
Complete blood tests, blood culture, sputum analysis, pulmonary function tests, bronchoscopy and chest X-ray are some of the diagnostic tests that help the doctors make a proper diagnosis. While the numbers of eosinophils is quite high in case of acute pulmonary eosinophilia, the numbers of eosinophils in blood may slowly rise in case of chronic pulmonary eosinophilia. This is the reason why imaging procedures must be performed.
Sometimes, this condition may be caused due to cancer or other systemic diseases. In case of cancer, a biopsy would be required. Since asthma is often associated with pulmonary eosinophilia, it is essential that one stays away from anything that may trigger an asthma attack. Use of nebulizers and bronchodilators may also prove beneficial in such cases.
The treatment options for eosinophlic pneumonia would, therefore, vary depending on the underlying cause of eosinophilia. Once the doctors are able to identify the causal pathogen, they can prescribe certain drugs for treating the infection. While antibiotics would be prescribed for treating a bacterial infection, antiparasitic or antifungal drugs would be recommended for the treatment of parasitic and fungal infections respectively.
Corticosteroids and anti-inflammatory drugs are usually prescribed if one is diagnosed with the acute pulmonary eosinophilia. Prolonged use of corticosteroids such as prednisone may be required for treating chronic eosinophilic pneumonia. If the disease is caused due to an autoimmune condition, immunosuppressive therapy would be needed. Taking rest and completing the course of antibiotics or any other drug suggested by the doctor is essential for speeding up the healing process.
The treatment of Eosinophilic pneumonia involves lowering the number of eosinophils through drug therapy. Since the levels of eosinophils in blood increase due to pathogenic infections or allergies, the best way to prevent the recurrence of this disease is to stay away from allergens. If one does suffer from this condition, a timely treatment is extremely essential. Drug therapy coupled with self-care measures can surely help in paving the way for a speedy recovery.