Lymphopenia. Causes and symptoms of lymphocyte decline

It is known that many diseases and abnormalities can be identified using a clinical blood test. Each person in the blood system are components that help the body to function properly and fight infections, bacteria and other foreign particles.

Table of contents:
  • Lymphocytes are below normal, what does this mean?
  • Causes of Lymphopenia
  • Lymphopenia Symptoms
  • Treatment of Lymphopenia

One of the most important elements of the immune system are lymphocytes, which are a type of white leukocyte cells. But, it is the only lymphocytes that can distinguish between "their" and "foreign" proteins. When foreign particles are detected, a defensive reaction is instantly activated, and the duration and strength of the immune response are regulated by the body. Therefore, if the lymphocytes are lowered in the blood test, the doctors pay particular attention to this fact, because the level of this indicator characterizes the state of human immunity at the time of the test. Consider this question in more detail, lowered lymphocytes in the blood, what it means and what threatens this condition.

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Lymphocytes below normal, what does this mean?

Blood cells, lymphocytes, are the main protective forces of the body, they are responsible for cellular immunity, are able to distinguish unhealthy cells and destroy them, produce antibodies that can neutralize foreign protein, pathogenic microorganisms and their toxic waste. Sometimes, when evaluating the results of the analysis, the doctor states that the patient has lymphopenia, what it is and what it means to an ordinary person is not easy to understand.

Lymphopenia is a condition of the human body in which there is a decrease in the absolute number of lymphocytes and a decrease in their concentration in the total blood volume( in adults less than 1000 cells in 1 μl, in children under 2 years less than 3000 per 1 μl).During life, the rate of lymphocytes changes significantly. For example, in young children, the lymphocyte count should not be lower than 30% of the total number of leukocytes, in older children 5-7 years old, the level should not be lower than 50%, in adolescents and adults, a decrease of only 20% is allowed. Otherwise, lymphopenia is diagnosed. In all cases, lymphopenia means that the person has an immunodeficiency state. But it happens that the decline of lymphocytes is a temporary situation when there is a foci of infection, and the immune cells actively suppress it.

It is extremely important to determine the mechanism and causes of lymphopenia, because with a long-term unjustified condition in humans, the risk of developing infectious diseases, oncology, and other pathological conditions increases significantly.

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Causes of lymphopenia

In each particular case, if the patient has any changes in blood counts, the specialist should establish why, how and when they occurred. Only a complete understanding of the processes taking place will allow the doctor to determine the disease and think about ways to eliminate it.

When detecting lymphopenia in children, first of all, it is necessary to figure out what form it has. There are congenital and acquired lymphopenia.

Congenital lowering of lymphocytes in the blood, causes:

  • underdevelopment or even the absence of stem cells, which are responsible for the production of lymphocyte-aplasia;
  • hereditary disease - Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome or primary immunodeficiency;
  • increased destruction of T-lymphocytes;The
  • tumor of the thymus gland( thymus gland), the very first organ of the endocrine system, is formed in the womb.

Acquired lymphopenia is more common. In most patients with an acquired form of lymphopenia, the cause is becoming an abnormal and inadequate diet, lack of protein foods, or zinc deficiency. In addition, the causes of a decrease in lymphocytes in the blood may be associated with the development of infectious, inflammatory, rheumatic diseases and other pathologies and physiological conditions, the most frequent of which are:

  • infections( influenza, sepsis, tuberculosis, pneumonia, HIV, hepatitis, osteomyelitis, etc.);
  • rheumatoid arthritis, skin tuberculosis with ulcers( lupus), scleroderma, etc.;
  • diseases of the spleen, in which there is an increase in its activity, which leads to premature and repeated destruction of lymphocytes;
  • taking "heavy" drugs, for example.anticancer, corticosteroid hormones, or chemotherapy procedures;
  • work in hazardous industrial plants, chemical.poisoning, radiation and the use of radiation therapy sometimes leads to the fact that reduced lymphocytes are detected in the blood;
  • lymphogranulomatosis or Hodgkin's lymphoma, these are giant malignant cells in the lymphoid tissue, found in the study of lymph nodes under a microscope.

In the above cases, it is an absolute lymphopenia, i.e.lymphocytic cells are lowered at normal values ​​of other blood parameters.

But there is a type of patients who for some reason, there is an increase in other leukocyte indicators, which is why there is a false opinion that lymphocytes are lowered in the blood. In other words, the number of lymphocytes remains within the normal range when there are violations in leukocyte parameters, which usually happens in acute or chronic forms of infectious diseases. In such a situation, hematologists and other specialists use the term - relative lymphopenia.

In some cases, lymphocytes may be reduced in an adult, after experiencing a serious stressful situation or when carrying a child in women. Lymphopenia during pregnancy does not require special treatment and medical correction, however, this group of women is subject to more careful monitoring.

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Lymphopenia symptoms

A condition such as lymphopenia usually occurs for a person without obvious, visible symptoms, and does not have its own clinical picture, this is its main cunning. However, there are still a number of characteristic features that are observed with lowered lymphocytes:

  • changes on the skin( eczema, pyoderma);
  • pale skin;
  • with lymphopenia; jaundice may occur;
  • diminished or completely missing tonsils and lymph nodes;
  • enlarged spleen;
  • alopecia( hair loss and impaired growth of new bulbs, baldness).

As well as deviations of other indicators in peripheral blood, during lymphopenia, a person becomes more vulnerable to the development of infectious diseases. Patients with such a condition are more likely to suffer from respiratory diseases, complications are more frequent, and relapses of previously transferred diseases, such as rubella, chickenpox, or pneumonia, are also possible.

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Treatment of lymphopenia

When lymphopenia is in its acquired form, it can only be eliminated by adequate therapy of the underlying disease or factor causing changes in the hematopoietic system.

If lymphopenia is congenital, then it is likely that a decision will be made about stem cell transplantation.

When lymphopenia develops into a chronic stage, the patient is prescribed intravenous immunoglobulin. The course of such treatment is quite long, and should be carried out under the constant supervision of a physician, you also need to constantly monitor the dynamics of treatment. If an immunodeficient condition has arisen inside the uterus or is transmitted from parents, then immunoglobulin therapy may be ineffective.

It is important to understand that when changing the composition of the blood, self-medication is not at all reasonable. For a general examination, at the first symptoms or ailments, you need to contact a general practitioner or pediatrician if we are talking about children. In some cases, it will be necessary to consult with a hematologist, oncologist, infectious disease specialist and immunologist.

If lymphocytes are lowered during pregnancy, then there should be no particular cause for concern, this is quite normal. The main thing is that while carrying a child, it is especially anxious about its health, to strengthen the immune system, to take care of itself, not to overcool and not to overheat, and to visit crowded places as little as possible.

God bless you!