Hypereosinophilic (hy-per-ee-o-sin-o-FILL-ick) Syndrome (HES)

I'm approved for Mepolizumab a new drug trial study at the UW for my Hypereosinophilic Syndrome (HES).

Hypereosinophilic (hy-per-ee-o-sin-o-FILL-ick) Syndrome (HES) is a group of rare blood disorders. It occurs when an individual's blood has very high numbers of eosinophils. An eosinophil is a type of white blood cell that plays an important role in the immune system.

Most people have less than 500 eosinophils/microliter in their blood. People with HES usually have more than 1,500 eosinophils/microliter in their blood for 6 months or more, and the cause cannot be identified.

These eosinophils make their way into various tissues, causing inflammation and eventually organ dysfunction. The most commonly involved organs in HES include the skin, lungs, heart and nervous system.

HES can happen at any age, although it is more common in adults. People with HES may suffer from a wide variety of symptoms, depending upon which parts of the body are affected. These symptoms include:
Skin rashes such as urticaria, angioedema, Dizziness ,Memory loss or confusion, Cough, Shortness of breath, Fatigue,Fever,Mouth sores.

When diagnosed with HES, it is important to determine the extent of organ damage. A chest x-ray and echocardiogram are routinely performed to evaluate the heart and lungs. Other tests often performed in HES patients include liver and kidney function.

The goal of HES treatment is to reduce eosinophil levels in the blood and tissues, thereby preventing tissue damage–especially in the heart. Standard HES treatment includes glucocorticosteroid medications such as prednisone that I'm taking now.

The prognosis of HES depends upon the extent of any organ damage. In very severe cases, HES may be fatal, but there is hope. Survival rates have improved greatly. In 1975, only 12% of HES patients survived three years. Today, more than 80% of HES patients survive five years.

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