Leucopenia / Leukopenia
General Info About Leucopenia / Leukopenia
Leucopenia is a decrease in the number of total white blood cells (leukocytes) found in blood. It is also known as leukocytopenia.
The normal total white cell count is 5000-10000 per cubic millimeter. When the total white cell count drops below 3,500 per cubic millimeter in the blood, the person is said to be suffering from leucopenia.
Leucopenia decreases a person’s ability to fight infections and diseases as white blood cells provide natural defense against infections.
Neutropenia is a subtype of leucopenia and refers to a decrease in the number of circulating neutrophil granulocytes. Neutrophils are the most abundant white blood cells (WBCs). Sometimes the terms leucopenia and neutropenia are used interchangeably, as the neutrophil count is the most important indicator of infection risk.
Leucopenia may be associated with various medical conditions like aplastic anemia and some autoimmune diseases, and intake of certain drugs. Chemotherapy and radiation can also lead to leucopenia. Other causes include hyperthyroidism, rheumatoid arthritis and liver or spleen disorders. Some congenital disorders or viral, bacterial and parasitic infections can lead to leucopenia.
Some of the common symptoms include infections, fatigue, sleepiness, fever and headache.
Leucopenia can be diagnosed with the help of a complete blood count (CBC).
Treatment mainly involves taking vitamin supplements, steroids or other medications along with a balanced diet and adequate rest.