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The Baso Blood Test Explained

Blood tests that measure immune capacity are an excellent diagnostic tool.

Doctors use them every day to help determine what might be causing a certain symptom.

The baso blood test measures the number of basophils within a blood sample. A basophil is a white blood cell that performs various functions in the body.

In this article, we’ll talk about the importance of this blood test, as well as how to interpret the results.

What Are Basophils?

basophils microscopy

A basophil is a type of white blood cell (WBC). It makes up about 1% of the WBCs circulating in your blood.

Basophils contain the anticoagulant heparin. This molecule prevents blood from clotting too quickly.

These WBCs also contain the molecule histamine. Histamine aids the immune response by promoting blood flow to the infected area.

Without basophils, your body wouldn’t be as protected against foreign microbes.

Bottom Line: Basophils are a type of white blood cell that contain histamine and heparin. They make up about 1% of WBCs in the blood.

Overview of The Baso Blood Test

baso blood test

The baso blood test measures basophils in the blood. Why is this important?

Well, if basophil concentration is high, then it means an infection is present.

This can help doctors determine what you have. Likewise, if your basophil count is low, then this can also be a bad thing.

Important note: if you’ve had a recent blood transfusion, then know that this can sway your baso blood test results.

In this case, it’s recommended that you get tested again after about 6 weeks. This should give you a more accurate reading.

By itself, this blood test can’t diagnose you. However, it can help doctors make a more educated decision.

All that’s required is a small sample of blood from your arm.

Bottom Line: The baso blood test measures basophils in the blood. If you have too many (or too little), then it could signify a problem.

What Does a Basophil Count Above 1% Mean?

If you have a basophil count above 1% then this is referred to as basophilia.

This is a sign that something is triggering your immune system- hives, allergies, etc.

Any kind of undetected, chronic inflammation could cause your basophil count to increase. Another possibility is leukemia (blood cancer).

Fortunately, the latter isn’t as common. It’s more likely that you’re suffering from something like Crohn’s disease or some other inflammation-inducing condition.

Bottom Line: If your baso blood test show a count above 1%, then it could be hives, allergies, or any number of inflammatory conditions causing it.

What Does a Basophil Count Below 0.5% Mean?

A basophil count below 0.5% is known as basopenia and typically isn’t a good sign.

While you’re probably safe from inflammatory conditions, you could be suffering from other serious things. One possibility is hyperthyroidism.

This is when your thyroid gland produces too much thyroid hormone. This is the opposite of hypothyroidism, which is associated with goiter.

Fortunately, both are treatable conditions. Is it possible for a baso blood test to show up as zero? In fact, yes.

This isn’t necessarily a bad thing, but it can be. Talk to your doctor about the result for more answers.

Bottom Line: Basopenia happens when your basophils are too low (below 0.5%). A potential cause is hyperthyroidism.

Parasitic Infections and Basophilia

parasite basophils

A common cause of a high result on a baso blood test is parasitic infections.

A parasite is an organism that requires a host to survive. In this case, the host is you. A parasitic infection can cause your basophil levels to skyrocket.

Examples of parasites include giardiasis, toxoplasmosis, and cryptosporidiosis.

They can cause symptoms like diarrhea, dehydration, upset stomach, and more.

According to this article, basophil count can increase in as little as 48 hours after the infection. Typically, medications are used to treat parasitic infections.

Bottom Line: If your baso blood test results come back high (greater than 1%), then it could mean you have a parasitic infection.

Crohn’s Disease and Basophilia

Crohn’s disease belongs to a family of conditions called inflammatory bowel diseases (IBDs).

Crohn’s disease is when your gastrointestinal tract is chronically inflamed.

Not only can this lead to dark stools, but it can also give you a high result on a baso blood test.

Symptoms include abdominal cramping, pain, fatigue, diarrhea, and more. They vary from person to person.

It’s estimated that about 780,000 Americans suffer from this condition. If affects both men and women, and can occur at any age.

Bottom Line: Crohn’s disease, which affects close to one million Americans, is a possible cause for your high basophil count.

Leukemia and High Basophil Count

A baso blood test can help diagnose people with leukemia.

Leukemia is a blood cancer is treatable by medical intervention. People with leukemia often show high basophil counts on a blood test.

If the leukemia is growing rapidly, then it can cause symptoms like easy bleeding, fatigue, unexplained weight loss, and frequent infections.

If you exhibit any of these symptoms, then get to a doctor so they can perform a baso blood test to rule out leukemia and other serious diseases.

Bottom Line: Leukemia is a possible explanation for a high basophil count. However, it’s not the most common cause.

Preparing for a Baso Blood Test

woman talking to doctor

There’s no preparation required for a baso blood test. Simply show up, get your blood drawn, and then follow up with your doctor later.

Once the lab receives the sample, your doctor should get it within 24 hours after that. The time it takes for the lab to receive your lab will vary.

Remember that this test is often part of a complete blood count (CBC). A CBC measures all aspects of your blood (not just your basophils).

Bottom Line:  Baso blood tests are usually part of a larger test known as a complete blood count.

What Now?

In Greek, baso means “foundation” and phil means “to love”. This means that your basophils are the foundation of your immune system.

Without them, you wouldn’t be able to fight infections as effectively. If your basophil count is high (above 1%), then it could signify any number of things.

Your doctor will use the information from a baso blood test to make an accurate diagnosis.

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