Basophils are white blood cells, so changes in their levels can indicate if someone is suffering from an illness, an autoimmune issue, or another health concern. To determine how many of these specific white blood cells are in a blood sample, a medical provider will order the basophils blood test. This test may be ordered individually, but is often ordered as part of a complete blood count or a white blood cell count.
Why Is the Basophils Blood Test Ordered?
The primary reason why this blood test is ordered is to give a patient a broad screening test to determine what the current status of their health happens to be. This is because the blood tests, of which the basophils blood test is apart, can be used to detect a wide range of conditions and diseases. It can also help to diagnose certain issues relating to anemia, infections, and inflammation.
It may also be ordered to monitor certain conditions, track the effectiveness of a treatment plan, or monitor blood cell treatments, such as chemotherapy. In this instance, however, it is only rarely ordered on its own.
Because basophils are a white blood cell, evaluating them will help doctors be able to see if there is an allergy or illness that is affecting a person’s health. This type of blood cell normally constitutes just 1% or less of the total white blood cell count, identified because they stain blue with a basic dye, and will increase or decrease in number depending on the disease that is suspected.
What Do the Results of a Basophils Blood Test Mean?
Most people will have a blood test result that falls in a reference range of 0-100 cells in a blood test, which results in a 0-0.5% reading. This is considered to be a “normal” result. Unlike other white blood cell count tests, having a low number of basophils is generally not considered to be a concern. It is possible to have a zero total count of basophils and be in completely good health.
If the basophils count is higher than normal, then this is generally an indication that the individual tested is suffering from some sort of an allergic reaction. This result is true whether the blood test ordered was an absolute basophils blood test or a percentage-based test.
The itching that is experienced during an allergic reaction is caused by basophils because they produce a different type of histamine, called anaphylaxis. If this histamine is in very high levels, then a dangerous condition called anaphylatic shock can occur. This creates swelling along a person’s air passageways, making it difficult or impossible to breath. The swelling may also put pressure on a person’s vital organs.
High basophil levels can also produce heparin. This slows down the blood’s natural ability to be able to clot effectively.
Here’s What You Need To Know About Basophils
Most people who suffer a mild allergic reaction may have an increased level of basophils at the time, but generally do not need to seek out medical care. Taking over-the-counter medications which control histamine levels will help to reduce or eliminate the activity of the basophils until the reaction is able to subside. If you’ve never experienced an allergy reaction before, however, it is a good idea to speak with your medical provider to make sure there isn’t another issue which could be affecting your health.
When basophil levels are very high and causing anaphylatic symptoms, this must always be treated as a medical emergency. Certain allergies, such as to bee stings or to peanuts, are known for causing this type of extreme reaction, but any allergic reaction can eventually build up to this. For this reason, a medical provider may prescribe an “Epipen,” or a shot which controls histamine levels almost immediately, that can be self-administered on location should an allergic reaction occur.
If an Epipen has been administered, medical care will still be necessary. You would need to inform the attending medical personnel that the shot had been administered.
Allergies are typically just the bothersome sneezing, itchy throat, and watery eyes that come around once per season for a lot of allergy suffers. In some individuals, however, an allergic reaction can be a life-threatening event. By performing the basophils blood test, whether on its own or as part of a complete blood count, a complete picture of health can be obtained and this can let a doctor know what to expect for a patient in the future.