Type 2 inflammation is a systemic allergic response known to play a role in classic allergies diseases including asthma, atopic dermatitis (eczema), nasal allergies and eosinophilic esophagitis (EoE). In some people this type of inflammation, when left unchecked, leads to increased asthma exacerbations, decreased lung function, eczema flares, and recurrent chronic sinusitis. For example, as many as 70% of asthma patients have a form of asthma characterized by Type 2 inflammation.
What Causes Type 2 Inflammation?
While Type 2 inflammation can be very bad, especially for those suffering from allergic disease, it can also be beneficial to our bodies, like when fighting off parasitic infections. Fortunately parasitic infections are rare in our modern, sterilized living environments. As a consequence some who are genetically or environmentally prone will go on to develop an over-sensitized immune response that is triggered by antigens that are not infectious or parasitic in nature. Instead they are triggered by seemingly benign environmental antigens like pollen, animal dander, dust or pollution. As a consequence these patients can go on to develop one or more of the atopic conditions discussed above.
How Do We Measure Type 2 Inflammation?
There are several biomarkers Allergists use to determine if type 2 inflammation is contributing to poor control and include tracking blood eosinophils levels and total IgE in the serum as well as measuring fractional exhaled nitric oxide (FeNO) in the lungs.
How To Treat An Overactive Type 2 Inflammatory Response
In the past we had a number of non-specific treatments to help better control severe Type 2 inflammation. These included medications like prednisone which could be compared to a poorly-aimed shotgun blast temporarily treating the condition but not getting to the source. Newer medications referred to as “biologics” have changed the way we treat Type 2 inflammation because they are specifically designed to target the cells and pathways linked to inflammation reminiscent of a sniper bullet rather than a shotgun. Instead of non-specifically treating conditions like asthma, eczema, and chronic rhinosinusitis with nasal polyposis, these treatments go right to the source of inflammation, limiting side effects, improving disease control and increasing quality of life. If you have poorly controlled asthma, eczema, hives, or nasal polyps talk to the doctors at Bernstein Allergy Group to find out if you are a candidate for these biologic therapies.