An absolute eosinophil count is a blood test that measures the number of eosinophils in a unit of blood. Eosinophils are a type of white blood cell that plays a role in the immune system. They are involved in allergic reactions, parasitic infections, and some types of cancer.
A normal absolute eosinophil count is less than 500 cells per microliter of blood. A higher than normal count, called eosinophilia, can be a sign of a number of different conditions, including:
- Parasitic infections
- Eosinophilic esophagitis
- Eosinophilic gastroenteritis
- Eosinophilic lung disease
If your doctor suspects that you have a condition that could be causing eosinophilia, they may order an absolute eosinophil count as part of your diagnostic workup. The test is usually done as part of a complete blood count (CBC).
To perform an absolute eosinophil count, a healthcare worker will draw a blood sample from a vein in your arm. The blood sample will then be sent to a lab, where it will be analyzed under a microscope. The technician will count the number of eosinophils in the sample and multiply that number by the total number of white blood cells in the sample. The result is the absolute eosinophil count.
If your absolute eosinophil count is higher than normal, your doctor may order additional tests to determine the cause of your eosinophilia. These tests may include:
- Skin biopsy
- Allergy testing
- Parasite testing
- Imaging tests, such as chest X-ray or CT scan
Treatment for eosinophilia depends on the underlying cause. For example, if your eosinophilia is caused by an allergy, your doctor may prescribe antihistamines or other medications to control your allergies. If your eosinophilia is caused by a parasitic infection, your doctor may prescribe medication to treat the infection.
In some cases, eosinophilia may require no treatment. For example, if your eosinophilia is mild and you are not experiencing any symptoms, your doctor may simply monitor your condition over time.
If you have any questions about absolute eosinophil count, please talk to your doctor.
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