A low white blood cell count treatment helps improve the immune system of an individual, and thus, decreases the risk of infections. The following article will discuss some information related to the treatment for a low white blood cell count.
The bodily fluid flowing through the body carrying necessary substances like oxygen and nutrients is called blood. Blood consists of different types of cells like erythrocytes (red blood cells), leukocytes (white blood cells), and thrombocytes (plasma). If you measure by volume, whole blood consists of 45% of red blood cells, 54.3% of plasma, and only 0.7% of white blood cells. As you can see, the white blood cells are much less than the red blood cells. The ratio of white blood cells compared to red blood cells is 1:700. A high white blood cell count indicates an infection. Lymphocytes, monocytes, and granulocytes are types of white blood cells that help protect the body from infections. There can be times when the body experiences a decrease in the number of white blood cells. This condition is called leukopenia.
White blood cells are defenders of our body against harmful invaders like microorganisms. There are different types of white blood cells that have a particular function in protecting the body. Under normal conditions, the immune system is at rest. A few white blood cells keep patrolling around the body to keep infections under check. The moment an infection is spotted, the number of white blood cells in the body increase. However, there are times when one suffers from leukopenia. Following are the causes of this condition:
- Bone marrow cancer, HIV infection, aplastic anemia, autoimmune diseases, liver diseases, spleen disorders, vitamin and mineral deficiency, viral infections, etc.
- Medications like immunosuppressive drugs as well as chemotherapy
- Unknown reasons (idiopathic)
The symptoms include susceptibility to infections. One develops fever, anemia, hot flashes, fatigue, chills, irritability, etc. Some people develop localized swelling due to accumulation of blood (hematoma). Gastrointestinal infections as well as urinary tract infections are common symptoms. Other symptoms include diarrhea, stomach cramps, canker sores, sore throat, headache, rectal bleeding, etc. People may experience pain and burning sensation while urinating.
Medications are prescribed by the doctor for treating leukopenia. These medications contain ‘growth factors’ and cytokines that help increase the white blood cell production. The most common drugs prescribed are filgrastim and pegfilgrastim. Filgrastim is given in the form of daily injections while pegfilgrastim is given as a single dose injection. There are a few side effects associated with these medications. They include fever, chills, and bone pain. Itchiness and redness at the site of injection also may occur. Leukopenia treatment in some extremely rare cases includes blood transfusion. Those who are on chemotherapy are asked to delay their treatment to help their blood count rise up.
- Patients need to follow a balanced diet since their body needs essential vitamins and nutrients to help heal the body faster. Leukopenia treatment gets a boost when the body has sufficient vitamins and minerals that help strengthen the immune system.
- As one has low number of white blood cells, it is very important to avoid injury. Even a slight cut or scrape may lead to serious infections. Be careful while brushing teeth, shaving, and even blowing the nose. A slight injury may lead to a major infection.
- Avoid visiting crowded places or traveling by public transport. As the immune system is weak, one is very susceptible to different infections one may encounter in a crowded place.
- Stay away from children or people who have been recently vaccinated.
Follow a healthy diet and take plenty of rest to help restore your blood count. Speak to your doctor and follow his orders related to leukopenia treatment.
Disclaimer: This HealthHearty article is for informative purposes only, and should not be used as a replacement for expert medical advice.