Does A Low White Blood Cell Count Mean Cancer – A low white blood cell count is a condition in which the number of white blood cells in your body becomes too low. White blood cells (also called leukocytes) are part of the immune system, and they are the cells that protect your body against infections by bacteria, viruses, fungi, and parasites. A low white blood cell count is also known as leukopenia.
White blood cells are very important for health. Life is impossible without them. Disease-causing microbes are literally everywhere, but most people don’t get sick because they have plenty of white blood cells to protect them. A low white blood cell count often means there is a problem in the body, so it is not considered normal.
- 1 Does A Low White Blood Cell Count Mean Cancer
- 2 How To Increase Red Blood Cell Count?
Does A Low White Blood Cell Count Mean Cancer
There are many types of white blood cells. Each has its own unique goals and different life spans. Monocytes (morph into other white blood cells), lymphocytes (release antibodies, regulate immunity and kill infected human cells), basophils (initiate inflammatory reactions), eosinophils (kill parasites and trigger allergic reactions) and neutrophils (major killers). bacteria and fungi).
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Our body constantly produces millions of different white blood cells to replace worn out or dead ones. That is why their numbers are mostly stable. The immune system is adept at regulating the number of white blood cell activities, increasing or decreasing the numbers of a particular type as needed in the situation. Even in moments when we are at risk, such as eating dirty or spoiled food, inhaling germ-laden dust, being in crowded places, or in places like airplanes, gyms, or hospitals, we often don’t get sick because we have a good supply of white blood cells that kill a pathogen before it can cause an infection.
If we get sick, the immune system initiates a number of actions to stop the growth of or kill invading pathogens, as well as to destroy infected or dying cells in the body. Infection often triggers a dramatic increase in white blood cell counts. Doctors can easily tell if you have an infection if your white blood cell count is higher than normal. Increased white blood cells give the body more chances to stop infection.
In fact, there are cases where the white blood cell count drops. In most cases, it requires a thorough investigation because it is often associated with health problems, some of which are serious. A low white blood cell count is not a diagnosis or a health condition. It can only be detected after a simple blood test.
The correct term for a blood test or test is a complete blood count or CBC. Doctors often order a CBC because it analyzes the number of cell components, including white blood cells. The normal threshold for white blood cell count may vary. According to the Mayo Clinic, the normal range is 3.5 billion to 10.5 billion cells per liter of blood. Meanwhile, MEDLINE Plus states that normal is 4,500 to 11,000 white blood cells per microliter (mcL).
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A CBC is the only way to determine the number of white blood cells in the body. Your doctor may order several CBC tests to monitor your blood cell counts.
The main purpose of white blood cells is to protect the body from infection by microorganisms. If their number is too low, you are prone to infections. Most people have no symptoms unless their white blood cell counts become very low.
If you have a low white blood cell count for a period of time, you may get sick or get infections more often than usual.
Basophils: Function & Ranges
All microbes except HIV cannot attack white blood cells head-to-head. Meanwhile, the main purpose of white blood cells is to kill microorganisms. The body naturally produces more white blood cells in case of infection or inflammation. Explains why infections can increase the number of white blood cells.
As we mentioned earlier, our body is constantly making white blood cells. Like other parts of the blood, white blood cells are produced in the bone marrow. A low white blood cell count means that there is something wrong with the production of white blood cells.
In most cases, a low white blood cell count is the result of an illness. Some treatments can also cause this as a side effect. Malnutrition and nutrient deficiencies can also cause low white blood cell counts.
A low white blood cell count is often associated with diseases. Among the most common causes is an acute infection, which can use up white blood cells faster than they can be produced. A serious infection can develop if the disease is left untreated or does not respond to treatment. It often occurs in children, very young children, or the elderly.
How To Increase Red Blood Cell Count?
A low white blood cell count is often a symptom of immunosuppression or a compromised immune system. As you learned in school, white blood cells are the workhorse of the immune system. Low counts of certain white blood cells on a CBC often reveal a cause of immunosuppression. Some common conditions that cause immunodeficiency include systemic lupus erythematosis (lupus), tuberculosis, dengue fever virus infection, rickettsia, psittacosis, Sjogren’s syndrome, Lyme disease, and Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
HIV infection is also a common cause of low white blood cell count. Human immunodeficiency virus primarily targets CD T4 helper cells, which are the precise ones that stimulate the immune system against infection. HIV causes the number of white blood cells to fail over time. Once the white blood cell count becomes too low, opportunistic bacteria and viruses can invade the body and cause infection, resulting in many of the serious health problems that define AIDS. Undiagnosed or undiagnosed HIV infection is the most common cause of low white blood cell counts in both developed and developing countries.
A condition called sarcoidosis also causes the number of white blood cells to fail. Sarcoidosis is an inflammatory disease characterized by the formation of lumps called granulomas in the lungs, skin, or lymph nodes. The cause of sarcoidosis is often unknown, but doctors suspect it may be caused by problems with the immune system; Granulomas in the lungs can be caused by an immune reaction to things inhaled into the lungs. Sarcoidosis may not cause symptoms. It is often detected after a chest X-ray. In most cases, sarcoidosis goes away on its own without any treatment.
Shock caused by sepsis is a condition caused by a severe infection that results in widespread and destructive inflammation of the entire body, often with a significant decrease in white blood cells. Some cases of sepsis cause very low white blood cells, sometimes as low as 4000 per microliter.
Effects Of Glucocorticoids On White Blood Cell Counts
Bone marrow can be infected by viruses, which can decrease white blood cell production, resulting in low blood counts. Bone marrow infection is uncommon, but it can be caused by an infection that enters the bloodstream or injuries near the bone (including bedsores). Some of these viruses cause diseases such as parovovirus B19, dengue, hepatitis viruses, Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus and human immunodeficiency virus.
In cancer patients, low white blood cell counts are often caused by chemotherapy. Drugs used to treat cancer work by killing the rapidly dividing cells that make up tumors. The problem is that the cells in the bone marrow also divide very quickly and are also targeted by chemotherapy drugs. Radiation therapy used to kill cancer cells also kills the bone marrow, causing a low white blood cell count. During cancer treatment, your doctor will order several CBC tests to monitor your white blood cells and try to prevent them from becoming too low. Your healthcare provider will also monitor you for signs of infection.
It’s also worth noting that some cancers can damage the bone marrow and affect your white blood cells. This can be done after any cancer affects the bones. A certain type of cancer, called acute myeloid leukemia, starts in the bone marrow and can affect the cells that produce white blood cells. Another cancer, multiple myeloma, can also cause low white blood cells because it interferes with the production of blood components.
Another cause is genetic or congenital problems that reduce bone marrow function, also known as inherited bone marrow failures. It is caused by a genetic problem. Some of these conditions do not show symptoms until adulthood. These conditions include Fanconi anemia, dyskeratosis congenita, Shwachman-Diamond syndrome, Diamond-Blackfan anemia, severe congenital neutropenia, and congenital amegakaryocytic thrombocytopenia. The good thing is that these conditions are rare.
Low Blood Counts
Taking certain antibiotics can cause a low white blood cell count. This is a reported side effect of many penicillins and cephalosporins, including penicillin-G, cefazolin, cefoxitin, and cephalothin. It is relatively rare.
If your white blood cell levels are low, the focus of treatment is to prevent infection. Having low white blood cell counts means your defenses against infection are also low. It’s a simple yet important clinging to what you seem to be missing out on
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