Neutropenia

NEUTROPENIA abscess

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Overview

There are many different types of cells in the blood. Each type performs a specific, designated set of functions. White blood cells are responsible for maintaining the immunity of the body and there are several types of them. Neutrophils are one type of white blood cells and their primary function involves combating pathogens such as bacteria. These originate in the bone marrow and circulate in the blood and tissues where they fight infectious microorganisms when required.

A large proportion of neutrophils are held in reserve in the bone marrow to be released in case of a major infectious event or injury. Hence, any condition that causes a drop in the level of neutrophils in the body can result in reduced immunity and increased susceptibility to infectious diseases.

 

What Is Neutropenia?

Neutropenia WBCSNeutropenia is defined as the severe deficit of white blood cells known as neutrophils in the blood. There can be a number of reasons for this including hereditary disorders and cancer treatment. Neutropenia can be a temporary condition or it may persist in the long term. This condition does not in itself produce any characteristic symptoms. However, the lack of sufficient quantities of neutrophils directly lowers the body’s ability to combat certain kinds of infections. Hence, a variety of infections can arise as a complication of neutropenia. When there is an extreme deficit of neutrophils in the blood, even the normally harmless bacteria residing in the urinary tract, gastrointestinal tract or on the skin can cause infections.

 

What Causes It?

There can be a number of causes for the lack of neutrophils in the blood. These either involve underproduction of neutrophils in the bone marrow or excessive destruction of neutrophils. The reasons for this are listed below and can range from congenital disorders to severe infectious disease.

  • Heredity.
  • Certain drugs including antibiotics, blood pressure medications and those that suppress bone marrow function.
  • Leukemia, a form of blood cancer.
  • Vitamin deficiency.
  • Hypersplenism.
  • Myelokathexis
  • Bone marrow disorders such as myelodysplastic syndromes.
  • Certain metabolic disorders such as glycogen storage disease type 1b.
  • Infectious diseases such as Lyme disease, HIV infection, salmonella infection, viral hepatitis or malaria.
  • Autoimmune disorders such as rheumatoid arthritis or systemic lupus erythematosus.
  • Excessive consumption of alcohol.
  • Radiation therapy.
  • Having weakened immunity.

 

What Are The Symptoms

NEUTROPENIA ulcersWhen neutrophil numbers in the blood fall below a critical level, the body is at an increased risk of developing infections, particularly bacterial and certain fungal infections. Hence, the signs associated with neutropenia are typically those linked to infection. The following is a list of possible indications.

  • Fever.
  • A sore throat.
  • Chills.
  • A cough.
  • Nasal discharge.
  • Pain and swelling in the gums.
  • Diarrhea.
  • Skin rashes.
  • Abscesses.
  • Itching

 

Types

Healthy adults have an absolute neutrophil count of between 1500 to 8000 cells per microliter of blood. Depending on the severity of the deficit of neutrophils in the blood, neutropenia may be mild, moderate or severe. A neutrophil count of between 1000 and 1500 cells per microliter of blood is treated as a mild case of neutropenia. When the level drops to between 500 and 1000 cells, it is considered moderate neutropenia. A neutrophil count lower than 500 cells per microliter indicates severe neutropenia and carries a critically high risk of infectious complications.

Depending on the nature of the mechanisms by means of which neutropenia manifests, this condition may be treated as either congenital or acquired.

  • Congenital neutropenia: These individuals are born with abnormally low levels of neutrophils in their blood because of having inherited genetic mutations responsible for neutropenia.
  • Acquired neutropenia: The absence of neutrophils may be attributed to severe infectious disease or medications. The patient may have undergone chemotherapy as a result of which neutropenia might manifest. Generally, the cause is one that can occur over the course of a lifetime and which is not associated with heredity.

Neutropenia may also be characterized as either acute or chronic. These are further divided into a number of subtypes.

  • Chronic neutropenia: If the level of neutrophils in the blood remains abnormally low for as long as two months at a stretch, the patient is said to be suffering from chronic neutropenia. This condition may eventually resolve itself or persist in the long term. This might be as a result of congenital defects or autoimmune disorders. Sometimes a cyclical pattern is seen where neutrophil numbers dip and rise in an alternating manner. Onset usually occurs in childhood.
  • Acute neutropenia: This occurs as a result of any conditions that temporarily boost consumption of neutrophils or temporarily reduce the ability of the bone marrow to produce neutrophils. Chemotherapy is a common cause of acute neutropenia.

 

Complications

NEUTROPENIA abscessThe primary complication arising from this condition is heightened susceptibility towards infectious diseases.

Bacterial, fungal and viral infections occur with increased frequency in those with neutrophil deficiency.

An interesting feature of neutropenia-related infection is the presence of fever but an absence of inflammatory response. Inflammation is absent because neutrophils are depleted. This is known as febrile neutropenia.

Pneumonia is a common complication but this too does not present with its usual severity of respiratory symptoms. Critical complications include respiratory failure, kidney failure, and death.

 

Diagnosis

Diagnosing neutropenia can be challenging because its symptoms can be easily mistaken for those of infectious diseases rather than an underlying hematological deficiency. However, it is a common complication in patients undergoing chemotherapy and radiation therapy. Hence, in these patients, there is a good chance that neutrophil deficiency will be noted in a timely manner. A simple complete blood count (CBC) will reveal the abnormally skewed numbers of neutrophils. Neutropenia is not a disease in itself and if possible the underlying cause should be identified.

 

Treatment & Prevention

The treatment of neutropenia aims at fighting bacterial infections and regulating neutrophil count in the blood. It comprises of:

  • Antibiotics are prescribed any time the patient gets a fever since there is always a risk of bacterial infection.
  • Stem cell transplant can be done in those patients where the cause of neutropenia is malfunctioning of the bone marrow.
  • G-CSF or Granulocyte Colony Stimulating Factor is used to stimulate the bone marrow cells to produce adequate neutrophils.
  • If it’s a drug-induced neutropenia, a change of medication is strongly advised to treat the condition.

According to CDC, while there are no definitive ways to prevent the onset of this condition, patients of neutropenia can follow these precautionary measures to decrease the risk of getting infections:

  • Practice good overall hygiene including oral hygiene.
  • Avoid physical contact with sick/infected individuals.
  • Eat immunity-boosting foods.
  • Stay away from public areas that can cause infections such as toilets and swimming pools.
  • Avoid handling animal wastes and dead bodies.
  • Dressing and debriding wounds properly.
  • Get the seasonal flu shot.
  • Wear protective gloves and masks while gardening or indulging in any potentially infectious activity.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Scrub fruits and vegetables thoroughly while washing them before consumption.
  • Keep raw meats and poultry away from other foods in the refrigerator.
  • Practice proper hygiene and sanitation and always keep a hand sanitizer with you.
Don'ts
  • Buy canned foods from grocery stores which are damaged or dented.
  • Consume unpasteurized milk and dairy products.
  • Eat raw or undercooked meats and poultry ( yolk should be cooked thoroughly)

 

 

 

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A complete list of low-fat diets and how to follow them Low-fat diets help you lose weight in a healthy way, but it works only with regular exercise and…
Pelvic_ultrasound
Pelvic Ultrasound Pelvic ultrasound is a process where sound waves are used to create image of your pelvic region organs…
antiHEV IgM test
Anti hepatitis E virus (Anti HEV) IgM Test Anti HEV IgM test determines the level of the IgM antibodies in the blood, The disease is often…
L-theanine attention
L-Theanine: Better sleep, higher focus, and many other benefits Did you know that L-theanine found in green tea can make you sleep better and be focused at…
18 instant steps to make your jogging routine more powerful Jogging is a form of Aerobic Endurance training which includes running at a slow pace. Jogging is slower…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
11 unbelievable health benefits of thyme you didn’t know! Thyme is a herb that has been used in alternative medicine.It is a well known seasoning in the…
blood elements analysis
Vitamin Profile Your doctor will recommend you undergo the vitamin profile test if you are showing signs of either vitamin…
Salt dangers
Sodium chloride: The wonders and dangers of the simple table salt Sodium chloride is a salt containing sodium and chlorine ions at a 1:1 ratio. It is edible and…
myelogram
Myelography Myelography is an important diagnostic tool that is used to investigate and identify abnormalities in the spine and…
complement c4 test
Complement 4 (C4) Test The Complement 4 or C4 test measures the level of the protein in the bloodstream, and is primarily…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
shiitake mushrooms healthy
What are Shiitake Mushrooms and why should you eat them? Shiitake Mushrooms are well known for their smoky and robust taste. However, did you know they are replete…
High Fiber Diet – Fire up your fiber intake for these health benefits! Regular bowels, healthy detox, higher immunity, and guaranteed weight loss - a high fiber diet can bring all…
CEA_test
Carcinoembryonic antigen (CEA) test CEA or carcinoembryonic test detects the presence of CEA antigen in your blood mainly & determines the effectiveness…
toxo gondii igm test
Toxo Gondii-IgM Test The toxo gondii IgM test is a blood test that tells the presence or absence of toxoplasmosis IgM…
anti-chlamydia antibody tets
Anti-Chlamydia Antibody -IgG Test Anti-Chlamydia Antibody - IgG test is performed by collection of urine or genital fluids as sample for testing…
How to correctly perform nasal irrigation using a Neti Pot? Neti pot has been a part of Ayurveda since centuries. This ancient tool is extremely effective in treating…
Top reasons why you need to pay attention to your vitamin B6 intake Vitamin B6- An essential water-soluble vitamin. Its deficiency leads to physical changes such as sores & glossy tongue…
sodium chloride
Halotherapy: How inhaling salt can work wonders for your body Halotherapy is quickly gaining popularity amongst those with respiratory diseases. It has shown promise in its treatment.
free psa test
Free PSA Test The free PSA test is used to detect the level or percentage of free PSA in the body…
Miracle extract from the root of maca: 10 ways it can help you! Maca root has been used for years in herbal medicine. Today scientific research is unearthing fresh evidence in…
lp-pla2
LP-PLA2 Test The LP-PLA2 test is a test which is carried out to assess the levels of Lipoprotein-Associated Phospholipase A2…
stain blood
Blood in your stool Know the reason for blood in your stool, toilet bowl or tissue and the important steps to take…
Lauric Acid: 8 health benefits you can derive from coconuts Appropriate use of saturated fats containing lauric acid can provide you numerous health benefits. This is the main…
piles
Best treatment for piles in Bangalore All you need to know about piles and piles treatment in Bangalore - the types of treatment available,…
PREGNANCY
Pregnancy During pregnancy, the body undergoes a number of biological and physical changes to accommodate and provide for the…
Ear pain model
Easy and safe tips for ear wax removal you can do at home Cerumen impaction generally occurs when an external object like cotton swabs are used to remove the ear wax.…
Crossfit with rope
CrossFit: Now get the perfectly sculpted body with this explosive gym routine CrossFit is a fitness regimen that makes use of high-intensity exercises in a shorter period to achieve muscle…
Krill Oil: Does the solution to human illnesses really lie at the depths of the ocean? The word "krill" means “small fry of fish” in Norwegian. They are usually the primary food source of…
Tart Cherry: The healthiest excuse for taking that second serving of pie Tart cherry has been traditionally used in delectable desserts such as pies. Recent studies have revealed that its…
Hot cups for detox? Read all about the ancient technique of cupping Did you know inverted hot cups on your back can squeeze out and eject toxins from your body?…
yoga health benefits
How to practice yoga for astounding health benefits Can a 5000-year-old system be the ultimate body healer? Did you know yoga can make you smarter and…
50 common health conditions
What are the top 50 deadly and widespread diseases? A complete list of the top 50 most common and deadly diseases that plague humanity. Which disease is…

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