A specific number of red and white blood cells and platelets circulate in the large and microfine human blood vessels. This is indicated by corresponding normal ranges, which can be determined in the laboratory medical examinations. If the leukocyte system becomes diseased, this can lead to leukopenia.
What is leukopenia?
Leukopenia shows abnormal chronic abnormalities in the oral cavity, inflammatory processes in the throat, nose and ears, pneumonia, increased furuncle formation on the skin and an increase in the size of the lymph nodes. See AbbreviationFinder for abbreviations related to Leukopenia.
Leukopenia is the opposite of leukocytosis. In leukopenia, the number of white blood cells in the bloodstream falls below the minimum requirement.
Leukopenia is therefore a blood disease that must be treated. The term leukopenia is actually just a useful abbreviation for leukocytopenia.
Since the leukocytes are only in special stages of maturation in the blood system after going through different development phases, varying types of leukopenia are classified. In addition to the so-called granulocytopenia or neutropenia, lymphocytopenia is another form of leukopenia. Granulocytes and lymphocytes are special types of leukocytes.
Like all diseases that can affect the organs and organ systems of humans, the diseases of the white blood system are also caused by various causal criteria. Leukopenia can be caused, for example, by external environmental factors such as radioactive radiation or ingested toxins, as well as by active pharmaceutical ingredients .
Cytostatics or thiamazole are considered to be medicinal causes of leukopenia. Other causes of leukopenia are other tissue and blood cell disorders that must be considered. These disease groups include aplastic anemia (low blood count) and myelofibrosis.
A disease of the white blood system can also be triggered by allergenic substances. Among the causes of leukopenia, this is known as allergic agranulocytosis. Bacterial and viral pathogens and hypersplenism (increase in size of the spleen) are also significant in leukopenia.
Typical Symptoms & Signs
- susceptibility to infection
- inflammation of the oral mucosa
- sore throat
- sinus infection
- Swelling of the lymph nodes, fever
- possibly pneumonia
Diagnosis & History
People who suffer from leukopenia fall ill very often and quickly. In addition, leukopenia causes symptoms that affect a wide variety of organs.
In this context, leukopenia shows abnormal chronic abnormalities in the oral cavity, inflammatory processes in the throat, nose and ears, pneumonia, increased furuncle formation on the skin and an increase in the size of the lymph nodes.
Acute health problems often occur with leukopenia, which lead those affected to the doctor and initiate an appropriate diagnosis. These are usually bouts of fever, poorly healing and multiplying abscesses, wound healing disorders and increased courses even with illnesses such as a cold or cough.
In addition to the assessment of the clinical picture, which is revealed during the examination of the patient, a complex of further examinations is required for the diagnostic clarification of leukopenia. If the number of leukocytes is determined as part of a blood count, this is well below the lower limit of 4,000 leukocytes per microliter. Depending on whether the leukopenia is lymphopenia or granulocytopenia, the blood cells are reduced accordingly.
In addition to counting the white blood cells, the cell assessment in a stained smear also shows shifts in the maturation stages and depletion of the leukocytes. The laboratory assessment of the leukocytes with regard to their occurrence in the bloodstream also allows differential diagnostics to be used to draw conclusions about leukopenia.
In addition, examinations of the body organs, ultrasound examinations of the spleen and removed bone marrow are carried out if leukopenia is suspected.
Leukopenia is characterized by various complaints and can therefore also lead to various complications and symptoms. In most cases, those affected suffer from an increased susceptibility to infections and inflammation. This also leads to various diseases and delayed wound healing. The quality of life of those affected is significantly reduced by the leukopenia.
Various inflammations occur, which in the worst case can also lead to death. Those affected suffer from fever and often also from pneumonia. Coughing and runny nose also occur. The resilience of the affected person is also reduced by the leukopenia and the patient becomes tired and exhausted. Leukopenia does not heal itself, so this disease must be treated by a doctor in any case.
Treatment of this disease is carried out with the help of drugs and antibiotics. Special complications usually do not arise. Timely treatment also does not reduce the patient’s life expectancy. Furthermore, the leukopenia can also occur again after treatment.
When should you go to the doctor?
People who fall ill often and quickly should discuss this with a doctor. There may be a serious underlying condition that needs to be diagnosed and treated. If there are any unusual signs of illness, such as recurring inflammation or skin changes, medical advice must be sought immediately.
An enlargement of the lymph nodes as well as wound healing disorders, abscesses and chronic colds are warning signs that need to be clarified. People who notice a decrease in well-being without any apparent reason are best advised to consult their general practitioner. Leukopenia can present with a range of symptoms, not the least of which are fatigue and lethargy, which need to be treated. The disease does not heal by itself, which is why a clarification by the family doctor is necessary in any case.
Depending on the suspected diagnosis, the doctor will consult other specialists, such as internists, dermatologists and gastroenterologists. Physiotherapeutic measures are occasionally carried out for treatment, which is why a physiotherapist should always be consulted. In the case of serious complications, it is best to call the emergency doctorcalled. People who have been exposed to harmful environmental factors, such as radioactive radiation or exhaust fumes, over a long period of time are particularly susceptible to leukopenia. People who regularly take cytostatics and comparable medications or who suffer from an allergy are also among the risk groups and should have the symptoms described quickly clarified.
Treatment & Therapy
In the therapy of leukopenia, general procedures are first considered, which relate to the elimination of the causes. If the leukopenia was caused by a transmissible infectious disease, increased hygienic measures are observed.
Another foundation on which the therapy of leukopenia is based are the drugs. With leukopenia, antibiotics and antifungals are mainly prescribed. As an extension of these therapeutic activities, infusions based on so-called Granulozten concentrates can be administered in the case of leukopenia.
However, the effects that can be achieved are only temporary and are mainly accepted when the leukopenia is very severe.
Outlook & Forecast
The prognosis of leukopenia depends on the underlying cause of the health disorder. Under optimal conditions, the disease triggers can be found within a short time and appropriate countermeasures can be taken. If the health impairments become apparent as a result of a side effect from the administration of medication, a change in the existing treatment plan and the selection of a different drug can already result in freedom from symptoms.
The necessary production of blood cells inevitably begins after the active substances have been removed from the organism. If the leukopenia is based on the influence of external environmental factors, these can be found to alleviate the symptoms and eliminated completely. In many patients, white blood cell count can be regulated with medical treatment. However, if left untreated, it can lead to numerous complications and disorders in the organism. Spontaneous healing does not occur with this disorder.
In particularly severe cases, the affected person falls ill with various inflammations and the organism collapses. Premature death occurs because the body’s immune system and blood circulation largely lose their functionality. In addition, organic damage can occur that causes irreparable damage. The prognosis improves when treatment is sought as early as possible. Nevertheless, lifelong therapy is necessary for some causes so that the production of white blood cells is sufficient.
Prevention of leukopenia is only possible if the known causes are eliminated. This applies, for example, to harmful medicines and radioactive and X-ray radiation. The initiated prophylactic applications, as a rule, relate to an already existing leukopenia and are aimed at not aggravating its condition.
The intensity of the follow-up care depends on the severity of the leukopenia. Patients with this disorder need lifelong treatment to relieve symptoms and prevent further complications. Early diagnosis and treatment have a very positive effect on the further course of the disease. Those affected should pay particular attention to a healthy lifestyle. This is based on a balanced diet and moderate exercise. Nevertheless, physical exertion should be avoided, since the susceptibility to infection is greatly increased in leukopenia sufferers.
You can do that yourself
Usually, leukopenia can be treated with medication. For this reason, the possibilities of self-help with this disease are relatively limited.
When taking antibiotics and antimyotics, those affected should be aware that interactions with other medicines can occur. Above all, alcohol should be avoided while taking these medications, as this significantly weakens the effect. If the leukopenia is caused by an infectious disease, the patient should observe hygiene measures. This includes washing or disinfecting your hands regularly. This can prevent further inflammation and infections. Also bed restshould be strictly adhered to in the case of leukopenia in order to speed up recovery. If the disease is caused by a harmful drug or by radioactive radiation, further exposure to these influencing factors must be avoided in any case.
As a rule, after taking the medication, there is a positive course of the disease. In general, the person concerned should take care of their body and not expose it to unnecessary stress. Strict bed rest should be maintained, especially if fever occurs.