Table of Contents
Causes of Leukopenia, Symptoms and Treatment
A decline in the number of leukocytes (white blood cells) circulating in the blood to fewer than 4,000 leukocytes per microliter of whole blood. The most common manifestation of leukopenia is neutropenia, a shortage of granulocytes called neutrophils.
Most leukopenia is secondary to other health conditions a person may have, such as viral infections or cancers that involve the bone marrow, and circumstances, such as chemotherapy. Numerous medications can cause leukopenia as an undesired side effect of treatment.
In such situations the doctor will evaluate the relative value of the inherent risks in continuing or discontinuing the causative medication. Leukopenia lowers the body’s ability to resist and fight infection and when severe can allow life-threatening infections to invade.
Frequent or unusual infections, especially persistent gingivitis or periodontitis, may suggest leukopenia. Treatment targets any infection or other underlying cause.