Neutropenia - immunity under attack

  • Neutropenia - immunity under attack
  • precautions and treatment

neutropenia Neutropenia - a violation of the main feature of which is an abnormally low level of neutrophils in the blood.Neutrophils - a type of white blood cell, are produced by the bone marrow, and are approximately 60% of the total number of blood cells.They play a critical role in immune responses, and are necessary to fight infections.

Essentially, neutrophils feed on bacteria, viruses, fungi and other microorganisms that can cause various diseases.Neutropenia is especially dangerous for cancer patients, as they have a weakened immune system, which means that the body is extremely vulnerable to infectious agents.Neutrophils are very sensitive to chemotherapy Chemotherapy - it always falls the hair? Chemotherapy - it always falls the hair? and radiotherapy radiotherapy in cancer treatment: radiation to help Radiotherapy in cancer treatment: irradiation aid ;If the patient undergoes radiotherapy, the number of neutrophils destroyed will depend on the dose and dose of ionizing radiation, as well as how extensive area of ​​the body exposed to it.

normal neutrophil count varies slightly depending on the age, as well as the human race.In infants the level of neutrophils lower than in older children and adults, and people of African descent it is lower than that of Europeans and Asians.The average level of neutrophils in adult human is 1500 units (cells per cubic millimeter of blood).In simplified form, the results of analyzes on neutrophils are interpreted as follows:

  • More than 1,000 units - a normal defense against infections.
  • 500-1000 - increased risk of infections.
  • 200-500 - high risk of severe infections.
  • Less than 200 units - very high risk of severe infection.The patient may require hospitalization.

neutropenia have no specific symptoms, in addition to those that are characteristic of the infections that may develop at the same violation.If severe neutropenia in patients may develop periodontal disease, ulcers of the mouth and rectum, bacterial pneumonia.Often patients observed a significant increase in body temperature.If after 19-30 days, the body temperature rises again, this may indicate a cyclic neutropenia.

To make a diagnosis, it is necessary to determine white blood cell count and differential diagnosis.Determine the cause of neutropenia may be difficult - it is necessary to study the patient's medical history, his family history, and sometimes also need a bone marrow biopsy.

patients, cancer patients, neutropenia is an expected side effect of chemotherapy and radiotherapy.The likelihood of developing severe infection depends on what kind of cancer sick people, and what treatment he passes.Particularly high risk for patients with leukemia and for those who do a bone marrow transplant.

It is important to identify the infection as early as possible.Their symptoms may be:

  • Coughing and shortness of breath;
  • Increased body temperature;
  • Sweating;
  • Chills;
  • swelling of the gums;
  • Changes in the color of urine or stool;
  • general malaise.


Neutropenia may be due to the following three processes:

Reducing the production of white blood cells

Decrease of white blood cells produce - is the most common cause of neutropenia.Development of leukocytes may be compromised for the following reasons:

  • cancer - especially some varieties of leukemia
  • Radiotherapy

Drugs affecting bone marrow, including medicines used to treat cancer Cancer Treatment - difficult,but you must Cancer Treatment - difficult, but necessary (chemotherapy drugs), chloramphenicol (Chloromycetin), antiepileptics and antipsychotics (chlorpromazine, proliksin and other phenothiazines).When hematopoietic stem cell transplantation Stem cells: on the edge of scandal Stem cells: on the edge of scandal (THC), the body is exposed to ionizing cure or potent drugs, and sometimes - both treatments designed to kill cancer cells.THC varieties are bone marrow transplantation and peripheral blood stem cells.During treatment with the cancer cells are destroyed or damaged and healthy bone marrow stem cells.As a result of stem cells can not get enough of immune cells, including - neutrophils, and developing neutropenia.To prevent this, before the treatment can be made stem cells of the bone marrow of the patient, which again will enter after the end of therapy.For these purposes may be used, and other stem cell donor.

hereditary and congenital disorders affecting the bone marrow, including - family neutropenia, cyclic neutropenia and agranulocytosis newborns.

Exposure to pesticides.

deficiency of vitamin B12 and folic acid.

destruction of white blood cells

cause too rapid destruction of the white blood cells can be:

  • Acute bacterial infection in adults;
  • infections in children;
  • Certain autoimmune diseases such as systemic lupus erythematosus;
  • Receiving drugs such as penicillin, phenytoin (Dilantin), and sulfonamide (Benemid, Bactrim, Gantanol).

Accelerated removal of leukocytes from the vascular

During these processes are derived from white blood cells of the vascular bed and are distributed in various tissues of the body.The reasons may be:

  • hemodialysis.
  • Felty's syndrome, or malaria.In these diseases, neutrophils accumulate in the spleen.
  • bacterial infections.Neutrophils remain in the infected tissues and not be returned to the bloodstream.
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