Neutropenia - definition, causes and symptoms
What is Neutropenia and Definition
Lower than normal numbers of neutrophils circulating in the BLOOD. Neutrophils are the most abundant of the three subtypes of granulocytes; the GRANULOCYTE is a type of LEUKOCYTE (white blood cell). Neutropenia, which can be acute or chronic, results in increased susceptibility to bacterial and fungal (yeast) INFECTION. Severe neutropenia can leave the body virtually defenseless against such infection, as neutrophils are the front line of response to invading pathogenic microorganisms.
The Causes of Neutropenia are numerous.
Among the most common are
- acute viral infections such as mononucleosis, CYTOMEGALOVIRUS (CMV), INFLUENZA, HIV/AIDS, and HEPATITIS
- AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS
- cancers of the BONE MARROW such as LEUKEMIA and MULTIPLE MYELOMA
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- long-term, chronic ALCOHOL consumption
- RADIATION THERAPY and CHEMOTHERAPY
- adverse DRUG reactions, notably with NONSTEROIDAL ANTI-INFLAMMATORY DRUGS (NSAIDS) and penicillin ANTIBIOTIC MEDICATIONS
Chronic neutropenia is common with chronic infections such as HIV/AIDS and with AUTOIMMUNE DISORDERS. The primary symptoms of neutropenia are typically those of the infection that is present. Diagnostic blood tests that show lowered numbers of neutropenia in the blood confirm the diagnosis. Treatment targets the underlying health condition or removes the offending medication. In many people neutropenia is transient and self-limiting.