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What is neutropenia?

Neutropenia is a condition in which there are decreased levels of neutrophils in the blood. A neutrophil is a type of white blood cell formed in the bone marrow, which protects your body against infections by fighting germs. If the levels of neutrophils fall below 1500 per microlitre of blood, you are said to be neutropenic.

People having neutropenia are at increased risk of developing infections due to a weakened immune system.

What are its main signs and symptoms?

There are no specific symptoms associated with neutropenia. It is typically detected when an infection occurs. Symptoms commonly seen in case of infections are:

What are the main causes?

Cancer therapy is one of the main causes of neutropenia. It includes chemotherapy (with medicines), radiotherapy (with radiation) and biotherapy (with substances obtained from living organisms). These therapies destroy both the rapidly growing cancer cells and normal cells because they cannot differentiate between the two. Other causes include:

How is it diagnosed and treated?

Your doctor will recommend a blood test to assess the levels of neutrophils in the blood. If the cause of neutropenia is not clear, your doctor will suggest a bone marrow test to diagnose any disorders of the bone marrow.

Treatment for neutropenia varies depending on the cause. In case of infection, antibiotics are prescribed. In chemotherapy, the neutrophil count generally falls within the first 2 weeks of treatment and reaches a normal range again by 3 to 4 weeks. If there is a failure to achieve normal values, therapy is initiated with growth factors, which stimulate bone marrow to produce white blood cells. It is an expensive treatment, making accessibility difficult.

  1. Medicines for Neutropenia
  2. Doctors for Neutropenia
Dr. Dinesh Kumar Mittal

Dr. Dinesh Kumar Mittal

Cardiology
15 Years of Experience

Dr. Vinod Somani

Dr. Vinod Somani

Cardiology
27 Years of Experience

Dr. Vinayak Aggarwal

Dr. Vinayak Aggarwal

Cardiology
27 Years of Experience

Dr. Vijay Kumar Chopra

Dr. Vijay Kumar Chopra

Cardiology
47 Years of Experience

References

  1. American Society of Clinical Oncology. Neutropenia. Virginia, United States; [Internet]
  2. Kalpathi Krishnaman et al. Epedimiologic, clinical profile and factors affecting the outcome in febrile neutropenia . South Asian J Cancer. 2017 Jan-Mar; 6(1): 25–27. PMID: 28413792
  3. Merck Manual Consumer Version [Internet]. Kenilworth (NJ): Merck & Co. Neutropenia.
  4. National Cancer Institute [Internet]. Bethesda (MD): U.S. Department of Health and Human Services; Infection and Neutropenia during Cancer Treatment
  5. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Neutropenia - infants
  6. MedlinePlus Medical Encyclopedia: US National Library of Medicine; Low white blood cell count and cancer
  7. healthdirect Australia. Neutropenia. Australian government: Department of Health
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