Low white blood cell count
The white blood cells in the human body are very important in that they are essential for a healthy immune system. The white blood cells are present to help with fighting off infections. If a person has a low white blood cell count, the body will become a lot more susceptible to serious and life threatening illnesses.
How dangerous is a low white blood cell count and how can it occur in a person?
If a person has a low white blood cell count, it is not necessarily dangerous for the individual. Some people just have a lower white blood cell count than others. However, if someone has a low white blood cell count it must always be investigated further to see if there is an underlying cause. This is because a low white blood cell count can indicate a serious medical condition. Health problems that could possibly be the cause include:
- Leukaemia, which is blood cancer.
- Aplastic anemia, which is a blood disorder where a persons bone marrow does not produce or make enough new blood cells.
- An infectious disease.
- Hyperthyroidism, which is basically an over-active thyroid gland.
- As a result of chemotherapy or radiotherapy treatment for cancers.
How is a low white blood cell count diagnosed?
A Complete Blood Count or CBC is taken from the patient. This is a very simple and also a routine blood test. For this blood test, the blood is taken from a patients vein. Further tests are then carried out on the blood sample to examine just how many white blood cells are present and therefore finding out if the patient has a low white blood cell count.
How is a low white blood cell count treated?
Treatment of the condition is based on what the underlying cause of the patient’s low white blood cell count is. Antibiotics as well as anti-fungal medicines can help fight any infection present. There are some substances that can be added to the blood to encourage more white cell production, such as granulocyte.
A patient can also suffer from a condition called poikilocytosis, which is when there is also abnormal red blood cells present in the blood stream.