What is neutropenia? Why does the disease develop?

According to medical terminology, neutropenia is a blood disorder in which too little neutrophilic leukocytes are produced in the bone marrow. In this condition, the human body becomes more susceptible to a variety of fungi, bacteria and parasites, in addition, decreases resistance and immune function in relation to various infections.

Table of contents:
  • Functions and rate of neutrophilic leukocytes
  • Causes of neutropenia
  • How to cure neutropenia?

Neutropenia in children under one year is often manifested in the form of a chronic, benign, and cyclical disease. That is, the level of neutrophils can fluctuate in a different time period, then fall to an extremely low point, then independently rise to the required level. The level of white protective cells becomes more constant and stable by 2-3 years.

Neutropenia what is it? Why there is, what threatens, and how to treat this condition, consider more details today.

to contents ↑

Functions and rate of neutrophilic leukocytes

As part of the immune system, neutrophils, or as they are also called polymorphonuclear leukocytes, are of particular importance and importance in the cellular defense system of the body. These blood cells mature in the bone marrow for about 14 days, after they enter the bloodstream they circulate for some time, in search of pathogenic or microorganisms.

Normally, neutrophils should be between 48 and 78% of the total number of leukocytes. Reducing the number of leukocytes usually leads to a decrease in the level of neutrophils. However, if a large amount of leukocytes and a decrease in neutrophils, that is, lymphocytosis and neutropenia, are detected in the analysis, the body thus signals a lack of protection for the body or impaired immune activity, in which case the doctor may assume that the virus has entered the body or a cancer cell has developed. Lymphocytosis and neutropenia in adults is one of the main "calls" of the body about the present ailment, the signs of which, perhaps, have not yet manifested themselves and the person does not notice the deterioration of their health.

With regard to the neutrophil rate in the blood, a healthy person should be detected in the order of 1500 cells per microliter of blood( 1500/1 µl).

In case of a decrease in the index, the state of neutropenia is diagnosed. Neutropenia is absolute and relative. When it comes to reducing the percentage of neutrophil count, it is customary to talk about relative neutropenia. Three levels of disease severity are also shared:

  • is mild( when there are more than 1000 neutrophils in 1 μl of blood);
  • medium( from 500 to 1000 in 1 μl.);
  • severe stage( less than 500 per 1µl.).

Only the severe form of the disease is considered dangerous for human life when the level of protective cells reaches a critical level and may be associated with impaired neutrophil formation.

However, it is also not worthwhile to ignore a small deviation from the norm, because the disease can develop into an acute stage in just a couple of days, or become chronic, gradually progressing over several years.

to contents ↑

Causes of neutropenia

Neutropenia in children and adults can develop as spontaneous pathology due to reduced functioning or destruction of granulocytes, and as a result of any abnormalities and pathologies. Very often, the reduction of neutrophil cells occurs as a result of exposure to the body of certain drugs, especially penicillin, anticonvulsants and antitumor drugs. However, other pathological factors can also provoke the development of the disease, for example:

  • infections of a viral, bacterial or parasitic nature( HIV, malaria, tuberculosis, etc.);
  • impaired normal bone marrow functioning, development of leukemia, anemia, myelofibrosis, etc.;
  • a significant lack of folic acid and vitamin B12 in the body;
  • sometimes, neutropenia in a child may result from insufficiently good pancreatic or kidney function;
  • is less likely to cause congenital neutropenia in infants due to genetically transmitted agranulocytosis, or a distinctive disruption of white cell production, a condition called Kostman's syndrome.

Neutropenia is divided into primary and secondary. The primary form occurs after genetic transmission or in the presence of an internal deficiency of myeloid cells, such a disease is characteristic of children under one and a half years. Secondary neutropenia is more common in adults who have suffered autoimmune diseases, underwent chemotherapy or radiation, or, for example, suffer from alcoholism.

Another form of the disease is cyclic neutropenia. This configuration is extremely rare, and occurs 1 time per million. Cyclic neutropenia usually begins in young children for unknown reasons. In patients with such a diagnosis, a mutation of the neutrophil elastase gene was detected and often, the release of immune blood cells from the bone marrow( myelokahexia) was disturbed.

to contents ↑

How to cure neutropenia?

This disease is dangerous in that a person becomes more susceptible to the development of various infections, especially when it comes to severe forms of neutropenia, when there are practically no defense cells in the body.

The main treatment for a low neutrophilic leukocyte count should be aimed at eliminating the cause of this condition. It is especially important in therapy to maximally strengthen the patient’s natural immunity, it is also necessary to protect him from any possible infectious diseases and infections.

Medication treatment is usually applied only in severe forms, and only after consultation with the doctor. Some are offered to undergo treatment in stationary conditions, where the patient is kept in an isolated sterile room, which is periodically irradiated with ultraviolet light.

In severely neglected cases, surgical intervention is applied, namely, transplantation of a part of the bone marrow, such an operation can be performed only to people whose age is not more than 20 years.

Now you know what neutropenia is and what are its causes. To never face a similar condition, you must always cure the underlying disease in a timely manner, if necessary, strengthen your immune system with special preparations and vitamin complexes.

Take care of yourself and your children!