The human body is a complex system consisting of many organ systems, which perform various vital functions. One such important system is the immune system, which is made up of innumerable white blood cells, or leukocytes. The main function of white blood cells is to act as a shield and protect the body from various infections and diseases. There are many types of leukocytes, one of them being neutrophils.
The neutrophils count may vary according to the age of an individual. But a count lower than 1,700 per micro liter of blood is termed as low neutrophil count. This condition is also known as neutropenia, in medical terms. An individual suffering from this condition is more vulnerable to infectious diseases. Let us discuss the neutrophils low count, along with its causes, symptoms and methods for correcting this health disorder.
Causes of Neutropenia
Neutropenia, or deficiency of neutrophils, can be caused due to various factors. The overall health of an individual also plays a key role in determining the level of these white blood cells in the body. Given below are a few triggers that lead to a decline in the level neutrophilic leukocytes.
- A low neutrophil count in children can be caused due to congenital defects like malfunctioning of the bone marrow. Neutropenia in children and adults can also be caused due to nutritional deficiencies and disorders such as deficiency of folate and megaloblastic anemia, due to deficiency of vitamin B12.
- Parasitic infections can also lead to low neutrophils in the body. The presence of disease-causing bacteria or virus can hamper the production of these white blood cells and thereby reduce their number in the body.
- Autoimmune disorders, where the body destroys white blood cells, is also one of the causative factors for reduced neutrophils in the body.
- Bone marrow disorders like leukemia, aplastic anemia and myelodysplastic syndrome can also result in neutropenia.
- Other causes include certain medications and chemotherapy for cancer which destroy the bone marrow and thus hamper the production of neutrophils.
Symptoms of Neutrophils Low Count
This condition does not exhibit any symptoms in its initial stages. This disorder can be detected only when an infection become severe or if the individual is more prone to contracting infections. Given below are a few of the symptoms of neutropenia.
- The individual becomes more susceptible to infections. He may also experience sore throat, low to high grade fever and frequent headaches as a result of the infection.
- Frequent diarrhea due to indigestion problems.
- Skin infections and slow healing of wounds.
- Burning sensation while passing urine and lower abdominal pain while urinating.
- Swollen lymph nodes.
- Development of lesions or ulcers in the mouth and anal region.
Treatment for Low Neutrophil Count
To determine the exact level of neutrophils in the body, the individual may have to undergo a blood test. A bone marrow biopsy is also carried out to diagnose if the individual is suffering from neutropenia. In order to treat this disorder, the underlying cause must be diagnosed and appropriate treatment administered.
Antibiotics and anti-viral medications are prescribed to treat parasitic infections. In case of nutritional deficiency, the patient is advised to eat a balanced diet and is also given nutritional supplements to balance the levels of nutrients, which cannot be obtained from food. Certain supplements and medications, which may trigger the production of white blood cell are also prescribed. In case of chronic neutropenia, the individual may have to undergo neutrophil granulocytes transfusion, along with other medical treatments, as advised by the physician.
In order to avoid infections caused due to low neutrophils or neutropenia, it is advisable to follow a proper balanced diet plan, drinking plenty of water and fluids, and getting ample rest. A routine visit to a health care provider can also keep infections and diseases from becoming severe. Hope you found this article on neutrophils low count informative. Take care!