Definition of Neutropenia

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

Among the most common are

Chronic neutropenia is common with chronic infections such as hiv/aids and with autoimmune disorders. The primary symptoms 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.


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