What Are The Symptoms Of Low White Blood Cell Count
Abnormally low white blood cell levels could lead to higher risk of infection of any kind. A low white cell count itself does not directly produce any symptoms, but a patient who is immunocompromised as the result of significant leukopenia and then develops an infection may experience symptoms associated with that infection, such as fever, localised pain, fatigue, muscle ache, loss of appetite and general malaise.
What Are The Symptoms Of Low Platelets
The platelets or thrombocytes play a very important role in the process of blood clotting, making it necessary to maintain an appropriate level of these in the body to remain healthy. An adults normal levelof platelets in the blood ranges between 150,000 and 450,000 per cubic millimeter. When they drop below 150,000 it is time to look into the causes of this decline, which may reflect various conditions. In OneHowTo.com we explain what the symptoms of low platelets are and what to do if your count is not adequate.
The condition where platelet counts are much lower than usual is known as thrombocytopenia.
The causes of low platelets can be varied and be signals for different diseases:
- Major infections
- Pathologies such as dengue fever, chikungunya or zika
- Conditions such as liver cirrhosis or aplastic anaemia
- Use of certain drugs or deficiency of vitamin B12 or folic acid.
- In more severe cases a low platelet may correspond to major diseases such as leukemia or myelodysplasia. However, it will always be necessary to have an exhaustive check-up to find the origin of this condition.
Because the causes of low platelets are varied, it is important to not become alarmed until we have taken tests and have discussed results with a hematologist. This is the right specialist to see to establish why you suffer from a decrease of platelets in the blood.
The symptoms of low platelets can vary from one person to another, but the most common are:
Chronic Fatigue Syndrome Environmental Illness And Low White Blood Cell Count
I feel I must apologise for my recent lack of blogging activity but I’m sure when I explain why you’ll understand – plus the reason has given me the inspiration for this post!
As regulars will be aware I have suffered from Chronic Fatigue Syndrome for a long time – since I was 11, so 20 years now. Like many ME/CFS sufferers I am also burdened by adrenal fatigue, low thyroid function, hypoglycaemia, Candida and Small Intestinal Bacterial Overgrowth amongst other things. I also suffered from severe Multiple Chemical Sensitivity for a number of years in my early 20s but thankfully was able overcome it !
Like most suffering from environmental illnesses I have been constantly frustrated by the absence of any abnormal findings on conventional medical tests over the years. After all, if the standard lab tests are normal there can’t possibly be anything wrong with us in the eyes of the average doctor – or perhaps we are just too difficult to deal with.
Recently however something significant did show up in some routine blood tests I had carried out by my GP. Ultimately however I once again ended up frustrated at the medical system here in the UK.
However, my GP also ordered a full blood count as a matter of routine and lo and behold it came back with findings that could not be ignored – my total leukocyte count was officially low as were numbers of neutrophils and monocytes and lymphocytes . Here are those results:
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How Are Blood Cell Disorders Diagnosed
Your doctor may order several tests, including a complete blood count to see how many of each type of blood cell you have. Your doctor may also order a bone marrow biopsy to see if there are any abnormal cells developing in your marrow. This will involve removing a small amount of bone marrow for testing.
Your treatment plan depends on the cause of your illness, your age, and your overall health status. Your doctor may use a combination of treatments to help correct your blood cell disorder.
What Are The Symptoms Of Low Blood Counts
The symptoms of bone marrow failure diseases like aplastic anemia, MDS and PNH are caused by low blood counts. The specific symptoms depend on which type of blood cell is affected. Read the section below to see the symptoms for each type of cell.
You may have many of these symptoms or just one or two of them. And you may get a new symptom at any point in the course of your illness.
A low red blood cell count is called anemia. If you have a low red blood cell count, you may:
- Feel a little tired or very tired.
- Feel less alert or have trouble concentrating.
- Have a loss of appetite or lose weight.
- Have paler-than-normal skin.
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What Causes A Low White Blood Cell Count
Low white blood cell count also called leukopenia can be caused by many factors.
It can be caused by a disease, either congenital or acquired, affecting the bone marrow.
When the bone marrow is affected, the stem cells that are produced in it , which are responsible for making blood cells, can no longer be produced. In this sense, a deficiency in the production of blood cells is created in the affected individual and can lead to serious consequences.
Some of these diseases are characteristic of the development of leukopenia, such as
- Myelodysplastic syndrome
- Kostmanns syndrome
- immune system diseases, the most common of which is Acquired Immune Deficiency Syndrome
- infections affecting the bone marrow
- liver or spleen failure.
Leukopenia can also be caused by certain medications. Among the latter, we generally find cancer treatments .
In addition, we can mention antidepressants, certain antibiotics, antiepileptics, immunosuppressants, corticosteroids or antipsychotics.
Other factors can also cause a leukocyte deficiency. These include vitamin and/or mineral deficiencies, malnutrition and stress.
What Is A Low White Blood Cell Count
A low white blood cell count is a decreased number of white blood cells in the blood. A low WBC count is referred to medically as leukopenia.
WBCs, which are produced in the bone marrow, are an important part of your immune system and your bodys natural weapon to fight off bacteria, viruses and other germs. When you have a low white blood cell count you may be immunosuppressed, which means that you are more vulnerable to potentially serious infections that do not go away or are hard to treat.
A low WBC count is usually discovered by your physician or health care provider during routine testing or through the course of diagnosis and treatment for an underlying disease, disorder or condition. A normal WBC count is approximately 4,500 to 10,000 WBCs per microliter of blood. A low WBC count is generally below 3,500 WBCs per microliter of blood, but this number varies depending on the medical laboratory, the particular test used, and the individual medical practice.
The significance of a low WBC count varies and may be more serious depending on your medical history, overall health, and the underlying disease, disorder or condition. Some people may naturally have a mildly low WBC count. The normal range of low to high WBC counts also varies by age and gender.
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What Are The Risks Of Having Low White Blood Cell Count
The main risk of an abnormally low white blood cell count is how vulnerable it may make a person to infection. Without an adequate white blood cell response available to fight infection, the body is at greater risk that any infection may cause serious illness or death.
Risk of infection is an even greater concern for a patient whose immunity is already compromised for some reason. One example of this is a low neutrophil count caused by the effect of cancer chemotherapy on the bone marrow.Where this is the case, treatments may need to be rescheduled to allow recovery of the white cell count and medications may be given to stimulate the growth of neutrophils to help maintain adequate levels.
Since leukopenia is itself asymptomatic and chronic infection may go unrecognised because of failure to mount a symptomatic response, immunocompromised patients will usually have a periodic blood count to monitor their white cell count along with other regular health checks.
Disclaimer: The content of this knowledge post intends to providegeneral information related to topics that are relevant to blooddiagnostics and may not be used in relation to the operation ofSight OLO. For detailed information on the diagnostic parametersand specifications of Sight OLO, please refer to the officialOperator’s Manual.
Symptoms Of Low White Blood Cell Count
Given that it is a symptom in and of itself, leukopenia can be accompanied by a myriad of other signs depending on what the underlying cause is. However, there are a few common effects the body will experience when your white blood cell count drops. Here are some to look out for.
Anemia: A low red blood cell count can often occur alongside leukopenia as the body begins to lose red blood cells without enough white blood cells to protect them. This results in fatigue, shortness of breath, dizziness, difficulty concentrating, pale skin, leg cramps, and insomnia.
Ulcers:Stomach ulcers are caused by the H. pylori bacteria, which is commonly present but normally held in check. As white blood cell count drops, these buggers can get more active and create sores along the intestinal lining.
Parasites: There are a surprisingly large number of parasites that you encounter on a daily basis, but most are shrugged off or killed. With leukopenia, you become more vulnerable to infection.
Recurrent Illnesses: As you might expect, low white blood cell count can cause you to experience recurrent bouts of illness. These bouts do not necessarily have to be severe, but they will likely seem harder to treat without the bodys defenses at their normal strength. Additionally, you will be more vulnerable to pneumonia as bacteria have an easier time colonizing the lungs.
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Natural Treatments For Low White Blood Cell Count
Although it can be scary to know that your bodys defenses are lowered, leukopenia is far from an incurable problem. Along with conventional medications and treatments, there are natural remedies for leukopenia. By bolstering the blood marrow and dealing with potential causes of the low white blood cell count, you can get your immune system back on track.
Improved Diet: Keeping to a balanced diet, particularly one rich in vitamins like B12 or folate, is a good leucopenia home remedy and can help keep your bone marrow stocked with the nutrients it needs to build new leukocytes. Fish, dairy, beans, grains, green veggies, and tofu are all recommended for these two nutrients, and your doctor may advise you to take vitamins to supplement this low white blood cell count diet.
Medication Adjustment: As mentioned above, some medicines can cause leukopenia. Its best to stick with some, like chemotherapy, but if you are taking antihistamines, antibiotics, or other comparatively minor medications then you should talk to your doctor about possible alternatives or changes to your dosage.
Steroids: Although we focus on natural health treatments at Doctors Health Press, some doctors may prescribe steroids to treat low white blood cell count. Steroids can be used to send extra instructions to the bone marrow that encourages it to boost white blood cell production.
Low White Blood Count And Fatigue
Dear Dr. Donohue I have been hoping someonewould ask you about my condition, leukopenia. I had numerous bloodtests this past summer. My latest one indicates that I have a whiteblood count of 3,100. I am 61, weigh 138 pounds and am 5 feet 4. Iexercise daily, mostly by walking. I am a vegetarian who eats dairyproducts. My chief complaint is fatigue. Until recently, I was arestaurant manager working 60-some hours a week. Now I amsemiretired.
My primary-care doctor says I should not worry, but I do. Whatdo you have to say? D.R.
Answer Leukopenia is a low white blood cellcount. In itself, it doesn’t usually produce fatigue. White bloodcells are the body’s Armed Forces, keeping infections fromoccurring. A low count can lead to repeated infections. The normalwhite blood cell count is 4,500 to 11,000. Your count is on the lowside, but it’s not so low that it constitutes a health danger toyou. It’s unlikely to be the cause of your fatigue, and, since youhave no obvious consequences from such a count, launching anintensive investigation at this point would not be rewarding.
If you haven’t had a complete physical exam in some time, Iwould also recommend that you have one now.
Write to Dr. Donohue at P.O. Box 536475, Orlando, Fla.32853-6475.
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When To See A Doctor
Many of the symptoms of leukemia may be caused by other, more common conditions. However, if youre experiencing any symptoms that could potentially be related to leukemia, its best to see a doctor who can figure out the cause. Its particularly important to seek a doctor’s guidance if symptoms persist or worsen.
How Is Thrombocytopenia Diagnosed
Thrombocytopenia or Idiopathic Thrombocytopenia, which refers to low platelet count without any known cause, can be diagnosed in a number of ways.
ITP is suspected when a patient comes in with specific complaints and shows no history of any other disorders or substance use that would otherwise cause such a problem.
The doctor may use a number of diagnostic means to diagnose Thrombocytopenia, some of which are given below.
The doctor may ask some questions regarding what symptoms, most importantly any bleeding you may have noticed.
They may ask when did you first see them, or if anything makes them better or worse, information about any medications and supplements you may be taking.
They may also want to know if you have had any shots in the last month or a blood transfusion, or used drugs with a needle?
Some questions may feel scary but you have to try to answer them as honestly as you can so a diagnosis can be made.
They may also want to know if you have any family history of excessive bleeding and other blood-related disorders.
The doctor may also check for signs of bleeding, both internal and external, and palpate your stomach to see if your spleen seems big.
There are some tests to check for low platelet levels as well:
· CBC . This test aims to measure the total number of your red and white blood cells as well as platelets.
· Blood smear is a test used to see how your platelets look under a microscope.
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Absolute Vs Relative Leukopenia
When looking at the number of white blood cells on a complete blood count, it’s important to note that only a minority of the white blood cells present in the body circulate in the bloodstream. For this reason, the number can sometimes shift quite rapidly.
Only around 2% to 3% of mature leukocytes are circulating freely in the blood. Roughly 80% to 90% remain in the bone marrow, stored in case they might be needed quickly. The remainder of white blood cells line blood vessels so that they do not freely circulate . Once in the bloodstream, white blood cells live on average from two to 16 days.
A number of conditions can cause the white blood cells lining the blood vessels to enter the circulation , such as shock, heavy exercise, or great stress. This may cause a white count that is actually low to appear normal. In contrast, dilution of the blood, such as when a person receives a plasma transfusion, may artificially lower the white blood cell count.
Are There Any Risks To The Test
After a blood test, you may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.
There is very little risk to your baby or child with a needle stick test. Your child may feel a little pinch when the site is poked, and a small bruise may form at the site. This should go away quickly.
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What To Do If You Develop An Infection
If you develop an infection, your doctor will order medications to treat the infection. Depending on the cause and severity of the infection, the medications may be given either by mouth or through a vein using an intravenous catheter. If you require IV medications, accommodations can be made for you to receive them in our office or possibly at home. Some patients require admission to the hospital in order to effectively treat their infection.
If necessary, your oncologist may decide to delay further treatments until your white blood cell count has returned to normal levels and/or you are free of infection.
What Does A Low White Blood Cell Count Mean The Answer Isn’t Simple
While blood cells are the driving force behind a healthy immune system. But a low white blood cell count doesn’t necessarily mean there’s anything to worry about. In fact, white blood cell measurements from blood tests are best considered in context of your historic data and whether recent tests deviate from your normal. Here’s a comprehensive overview of white blood cells, the reasons they might be low, and how to support their production.
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