Table of Contents
Definition of Neutropenia
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.
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
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.