What Is Aplastic Anemia
Aplastic anemia occurs when your bone marrow doesnt make enough red and white blood cells, and platelets. Having fewer red blood cells causes hemoglobin to drop.
Hemoglobin is the part of blood that carries oxygen through your body. Having fewer white blood cells makes you more likely to get an infection. And having fewer platelets makes the blood too thin. This means your blood cant clot the way it should.
Whos At Risk For Leukopenia
Anyone who has a condition that can cause leukopenia is at risk.
Leukopenia usually doesnt lead to noticeable symptoms. Your doctor will monitor your WBC counts carefully if you have any of the conditions that can lead to leukopenia. This means undergoing frequent blood tests.
Because leukopenia involves low levels of infection-fighting immune cells, it can cause some potentially serious complications if left untreated. Some of the complications of leukopenia include:
- needing to delay cancer treatment because of a mild infection
- life threatening infections, including , which is a serious bloodstream infection
- , a life threatening response by your body to a blood infection
- recurrent or prolonged infections
In order to diagnose leukopenia, your doctor will first do a physical exam and get your medical history. Theyll ask you about:
- what type of symptoms youre having
- when your symptoms started
- whether you have a personal or family history of other health conditions, such as autoimmune disorders or cancers of the blood or bone marrow
- what types of medications youre currently taking
- your lifestyle habits
A complete blood count is one of the first tests thats used to help diagnose leukopenia. This test will inform your doctor about the levels of WBCs, red blood cells, and platelets in your blood.
Once your WBC count is deemed low, your doctor will order other tests to help determine the cause of your condition. Some examples include:
Absolute Vs Relative Leukopenia
When looking at the number of white blood cells on a complete blood count, itâs important to note that only a minority of the white blood cells present in the body circulate in the bloodstream. For this reason, the number can sometimes shift quite rapidly.
Only around 2% to 3% of mature leukocytes are circulating freely in the blood. Roughly 80% to 90% remain in the bone marrow, stored in case they might be needed quickly. The remainder of white blood cells line blood vessels so that they do not freely circulate . Once in the bloodstream, white blood cells live on average from two to 16 days.
A number of conditions can cause the white blood cells lining the blood vessels to enter the circulation , such as shock, heavy exercise, or great stress. This may cause a white count that is actually low to appear normal. In contrast, dilution of the blood, such as when a person receives a plasma transfusion, may artificially lower the white blood cell count.
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Who Does Itp Affect
ITP is more common among children than adults, most often occurring around two to four years of age. Estimates suggest that ITP affects one in every 10 000 children in adults it affects approximately one in 20 000. Among adults, young women are more likely to develop ITP than any other group, for reasons unknown.
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What Are The Problems Involving White Blood Cells
An abnormally low or high number of white blood cells might indicate an underlying problem.
If you have too few of the healthy type of white blood cells called neutrophils, this is known as neutropenia. It might be a sign of a serious problem, or it might just be because you’ve got a virus. It can also come on after cancer treatment
If you have too many white blood cells, it could be because youve got a bacterial infection. Also leukaemia, a type of cancer, makes you produce large numbers of abnormal white blood cells.
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Symptoms Of Low White Blood Cell Count
Low white blood cell count is medically known as âleukopenia,â and it is almost always related to significant reductions in neutrophils, a type of white blood cell. Neutrophils are designed to fight specific infections, particularly bacterial infections, and low neutrophil count is known as âneutropenia” .
So what happens when your white blood cells are low? Most people with a low white blood cell count will not experience any symptoms. Typically, when white blood cell levels are abnormally low, you may be more prone to infections. Common signs of an infection are chills, sweating, and a fever over 100.5Â° Fahrenheit .
A low neutrophil count will usually result in persistent fevers and infections affecting various organ systems. Neutropenia can make you more prone to:
- Bladder infections
- Increased coughing and trouble breathing because of lung infections
- Nasal issues and sinus infections
Lymphocytes Can Mark Signal And Destroy Germs
Some treatments, most often those given during a bone marrow transplant, can cause a shortage of lymphocytes. B and T lymphocytes help fight viruses, but have different jobs:
- B-lymphocytes make special proteins called antibodiesthat recognize and kill certain germs. They also can mark germs to be destroyed by other cells.
- T-lymphocytes make signaling substances called cytokines that tell other cells what to do. They also destroy cells infected by viruses.
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What Are The Treatments For Low Blood Counts
The best treatment for low blood counts is to prevent them before they occur. This can be accomplished with the administration of blood cell growth factors. Blood cell growth factors are substances produced by the body that stimulate the cells in the bone marrow to produce more red blood cells, white blood cells, or platelets. These factors have also been produced in a laboratory and are approved by the Food and Drug Administration for the treatment of cancer patients with low blood counts.
Low red blood cell counts: Erythropoietin is a blood cell growth factor that selectively increases production of red blood cells. Clinical trials have demonstrated that erythropoietin is safe and effective in reversing anemia in cancer patients. Erythropoietin has been proven to effectively:
- Increase hematocrit
- Reverse fatigue
- Improve overall sense of well-being
Erythropoietin is FDA-approved for the treatment of anemia in patients with nonmyeloid cancers , whose anemia is a result of chemotherapy.
Treatment with erythropoietin causes a gradual increase in red blood cell production. The body uses iron in red blood cell production. Thus, supplemental iron may be required to adequately support erythropoietin-stimulated erythropoiesis. Virtually all patients receiving erythropoietin therapy will eventually require supplemental iron therapy.
What Are White Blood Cells
White blood cells are a type of immune cell. They are created in the bone marrow, the spongy part of your bones, and can be found in blood and in tissues that support the immune system, which are known as lymph tissues. There are several types of white blood cells, and each plays a role in fighting infection and disease in the body:
- Granulocytes, including neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils, which are released during allergic reactions and asthma
- Monocytes, which help fight off infections and facilitate healing
- Lymphocytes, including T-cells and B cells, while help control immune responses
Your WBC count is measured with a blood test called a complete blood count . If your WBC count is higher than normal, this could indicate an infection or inflammation. A low WBC count signals a problem with your immune system. This is a common problem in people living with cancer or taking medications that suppress the immune system.
Typical reference ranges for a WBC count are:
- Low: Less than 4,500 WBCs per microliter
- Normal: 4,500 to 11,000 WBCs per microliter
- High: More than 11,000 WBCs per microliter
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What To Do If You Develop An Infection
If you develop an infection, your doctor will order medications to treat the infection. Depending on the cause and severity of the infection, the medications may be given either by mouth or through a vein using an intravenous catheter. If you require IV medications, accommodations can be made for you to receive them in our office or possibly at home. Some patients require admission to the hospital in order to effectively treat their infection.
If necessary, your oncologist may decide to delay further treatments until your white blood cell count has returned to normal levels and/or you are free of infection.
White Blood Cell Count: What You Need To Know
White blood cells, also known as leukocytes, help protect the body against infections, bacteria, viruses and diseases. These essential part of the immune system are produced in the bone marrow and are present in the blood and lymph tissue. White blood cells come in different types, and the blood normally contains a certain percentage for each type. This is what doctors check when they request tests that measure a persons WBC count.
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Conditions That Affect The Bone Marrow
Anything that interferes with the production of white blood cells in the bone marrow may potentially lead to leukopenia, including:
- Infiltration of the bone marrow: Infiltration of the bone marrow can disrupt the process of blood cell formation. Metastases to the bone marrow can similarly lead to leukopenia. Cancers that tend to spread to the bone marrow include breast cancer, prostate cancer, colon cancer, melanoma, and stomach cancer.
- Bone marrow disorders, including aplastic anemia, myelodysplastic syndromes, multiple myeloma, myelofibrosis
Stopping Treatments Or Medications That Cause Leukopenia
Sometimes you may need to stop a treatment to give your body time to make more WBCs. Your blood cell counts may naturally rise when treatment like radiation is over or between chemotherapy sessions. The amount of time it takes for WBCs to replenish varies from person to person.
If youre taking a medication that causes leukopenia, your doctor may adjust the dose that youre taking. They may also recommend switching to a different medication, if possible.
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How Long Does A White Blood Cell Live
White blood cells are a part of your immune system that protects your body from infection. These cells circulate through your bloodstream and tissues to respond to injury or illness by attacking any unknown organisms that enter your body.
White blood cells, also known as leukocytes, are responsible for protecting your body from infection. As part of your immune system, white blood cells circulate in your blood and respond to injury or illness.
White blood cells protect your body against infection. As your white blood cells travel through your bloodstream and tissues, they locate the site of an infection and act as an army general to notify other white blood cells of their location to help defend your body from an attack of an unknown organism. Once your white blood cell army arrives, they fight the invader by producing antibody proteins to attach to the organism and destroy it.
Your white blood cells are in your bloodstream and travel through blood vessel walls and tissues to locate the site of an infection.
What Are The Treatment Options White Blood Cell Disorders
Treatment depends on the underlying problem and severity and may include:
- oral or intravenous antibiotics to fight infection
- colony-stimulating factor to stimulate the bone marrow to produce more white blood cells
Stem cell transplant may be an option for severe congenital diseases. Bone marrow transplant involves the replacement of diseased bone marrow with another persons healthy bone marrow. Unfortunately, it may not be an option for everyone. The success of a transplant depends on many factors, such as how close the match is between child and donor and the patient’s age. The decision to proceed with bone marrow transplant should be discussed with your childs hematologist and a stem cell transplant team.
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What Is Low White Blood Cell Count
Every day, our bodies produce about 100 billion white blood cells . Leukocytes help defend our bodies against intruders like viruses and bacteria that may cause infections.
In leukopenia , you have lower-than-normal numbers of white blood cells. Specifically, you have fewer neutrophils than normal.
Neutrophils are white blood cells that act as your immune systems first line of defense. Without enough white blood cells, including enough neutrophils, youre more vulnerable to developing infections.
A white blood cell count thats less than 4,000 cells per microliter of blood is a low white blood cell count. Normal white blood cell counts vary depending on age and sex. For example, the white blood cell count for men, people designated male at birth and children is 5,000 to 10,000 cells per microliter of blood. The normal range for women and people designated female at birth is 4,500 to 11,000 microliters of blood.
Is leukopenia a kind of cancer?
No, its not but theres a connection between leukopenia and cancer. Cancer treatments may cause leukopenia.
Does leukopenia lead to leukemia?
No, but leukemia may cause leukopenia. Leukemia affects your blood cells, including white blood cells. Your bone marrow makes blood cells.
In leukemia, your body makes abnormal blood cells that multiply and divide. The abnormal cells eventually outnumber healthy cells, including healthy white blood cells. That leaves your body with lower-than-normal levels of white blood cells or leukopenia.
When Immunity Is Compromised
As you read previously, there are many components of the immune system. If something goes wrong with any of those cells, tissues or organs, the system doesnt function normally. A number of medical conditions can affect immunity, including HIV, AIDS, cancer, splenectomy , and autoimmune disorders. Some medications, including chemotherapy, can also decrease immune functioning.
If you have compromised immunity, youll be much more susceptible to mold-related illness. Youll also find it much more difficult to fight off infection and it may take you much longer than other people to recover.
If you have a condition that affects your immunity, be sure to consult your doctor right away if youve discovered mold in your home. Even if you arent currently experiencing symptoms of mold-related illness, its best to consult with your doctor to find out if you need to take any special precautions to prevent becoming ill from the mold. Of course, youll also want to have the mold removed from your home as soon as possible, in order to prevent becoming ill.
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What Does A Low White Blood Cell Count Mean The Answer Isn’t Simple
While blood cells are the driving force behind a healthy immune system. But a low white blood cell count doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything to worry about. In fact, white blood cell measurements from blood tests are best considered in context of your historic data and whether recent tests deviate from your normal. Here’s a comprehensive overview of white blood cells, the reasons they might be low, and how to support their production.
What To Expect From A Wbc Count
A healthcare professional or lab technician needs to draw blood to check your WBC count.
This blood sample is typically taken either from a vein in your arm or a vein on the back of your hand. It only takes a couple of minutes to draw your blood, and you may experience minor discomfort.
The healthcare professional first cleans the site to kill any germs. Then, they will typically tie an elastic band around the upper section of your arm. This elastic band helps the blood fill your vein, making it easier for the blood to be drawn.
They may then insert a needle into your arm or hand to collect the blood in an attached tube. After, they will remove the elastic band from around your arm and remove the needle. Finally, the technician may apply gauze or a bandage to the site to stop the bleeding.
Theres typically a different technique for drawing blood from young children and infants. This may include first puncturing the skin with a lancet and then using a test strip or a small vial to collect the blood.
A laboratory typically processes these results. You may receive your results online, over a phone call, or during a follow-up visit.
Having your blood drawn is a simple procedure, and complications are rare.
Rare complications of a blood test may include:
- infection at the needle site
- excessive bleeding
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Low White Blood Cell Count : Meaning Causes Ranges
White blood cells, also known as leukocytes, account for less than 1% of your blood cells, but are very important for health and protection against disease. These are the cells that defend the body against viruses and bacteria. Having a low or elevated white blood cell count can indicate a range of disorders relating to the blood and bone marrow.
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An Overview Of White Blood Cell Disorders
White blood cell disorders occur when you have too many or too few white blood cells. White blood cells, also known as leukocytes, are one of four types of cells that make up blood. They are produced in the bone marrow and play an important role in your immune system.
Doctors can measure these cells with a test called a white blood cell count. When white blood cells are abnormally high, it usually suggests that your immune system is fighting a disease or infection. When they are too low, it suggests that a disease, autoimmune disorder, or other condition has weakened your immune system.
Verywell / Laura Porter
While you cannot diagnose any medical condition based on a white blood cell count, the test can often be the first sign of a disease and even hint at what kind of disease you have.
This article will discuss the different types of white blood cell disorders, how to recognize them, and their causes, diagnosis, and treatment.
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