What Does a Low Neutrophil Count Mean?
Neutrophils are the most common type of white blood cells in our blood, responsible for eliminating bacteria and other organisms that invade the body, preventing them from affecting our health. So, if after doing a blood test, it shows that neutrophil levels are low, it's important to determine the cause of this decline, in order to ensure the effectiveness of immune system function. At OneHowTo.com we'll explain some common reasons that explain why neutrophils are low.
It's important to know what are considered normal neutrophil levels, to identify whether they are in fact low. Although blood tests can show these levels, they may vary slightly from one laboratory to another. Normal levels of neutrophils should be between 2000 and 7500 /ml, though a count of 1500 to 8000/ml is also acceptable. If the count is less than 2000 / ml, the white blood cell count is considered to be low.
The name given to low levels of neutrophils is Neutropenia, which can have several causes. This condition can cause bacteria that are normally in your body to become a risk of infection.
There are several reasons that may cause a decline in neutrophils or neutropenia, and the most common are the following:
- The flu, especially with severe and persistent symptoms.
- Vitamin deficiency.
- A viral infection
- Lyme disease
- A moderate to severe bacterial infection or one that's widespread. This can include Salmonella.
- Aplastic anemia, due to this condition affecting the bone marrow.
- People suffering from rheumatoid arthritis may also experience a low neutrophil count.
We should note that a low neutrophil blood count may also be congenital. Kostman's syndrome is a condition where the body produces less neutrophils and Myelokathexis, a condition in which not enough neutrophils can enter the bloodstream.
Other more serious conditions that can lead to decreased levels of neutrophils in the blood include:
- Damage to the bone marrow.
- Hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C.
- Patients undergoing treatment for cancer, such as chemotherapy and radiotherapy.
Neutrophils are created in the bone marrow, which is why many diseases that affect the bone marrow involve a decrease in Neutrophil levels, as the production is disrupted in such case.
Since it's clear that there are various causes of low neutrophil levels, it's important that, if a blood test indicates a low white blood cell count, you consult a hematologist who will perform an exam to determine the reason for this decline.
You can also check our article on how to interpret a blood test or the normal range of eosinophils.
This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.
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