A low white cell count is medically referred to as Leukopenia. It is a condition characterised by a decreased number of white blood cells in the blood. The condition causes the body to be vulnerable to various bacterial infections that are hard to treat or do not go away. This is because, white blood cells fight diseases and at the same time defend the body against infections. The several causes of this condition include some biological therapies, infection, leukaemia, chemotherapy and performing a radiation therapy to the bone marrow.
A low white cell count is normally discovered through routine testing by a medical expert. Mild Leukopenia usually has no symptoms. Nevertheless, some symptoms that indicate that an individual has the condition include fever, dizziness and chills. Medical experts are able to diagnose Leukopenia by checking the level of white blood cells using a complete blood count.
When an infection is suspected, the doctor carries out a laboratory test using urine, blood and samples from other sites that might be possibly infected. The doctor can also perform a chest x-ray on the patient if he or she suspects pneumonia during the physical examination. However, different laboratories differ in classifying low white blood cell counts. Usually, a blood count of less than 3,500 white blood cells per micro litre of blood is classified as a low white blood cell count. It is very crucial to discuss with the doctor on how the values are arrived at. A white blood cell count that is minimally below the required cut-off can be considered normal. The major measure to be taken to reduce the chance of infection is by reducing or lowering the amount of cancer treatments that an individual might be receiving.
There are various medications that have been advanced to increase white blood cell count and to reduce the risk of infection. Medical experts may prescribe a special drug to help with a low white cell count to return to required levels. Furthermore, chemotherapy and stimulating factors can also be used to increase the production of white blood cells to prevent prolonged Leukopenia. More importantly, these medications do not necessarily eliminate the risk of infections but simply reduces the chances that they might occur. Most of these medications have side effects which may include fever and chills, skin sensitivity especially around the injection are and bone pain during the first cycle of the medication.
Antibiotics can be used when the level of white blood cell count is becoming too low. A blood cell count that is too low greatly increases the risk of developing an infection. This practice is called prophylaxis and is usually given intravenously or by mouth.
Significantly, a low white blood cell count is more or less serious and varies depending on an individual's overall health, medical history and the underlying disorder or condition. Some people may have a low white blood cell count naturally depending on their overall body health. A variation in the normal range of white blood cell count also depends on the age and gender of an individual.
Conclusively, a low white cell count can be fatal because it increases the risk of developing deadly infections. If you have a low white blood cell count, it is always advisable to avoid scenarios that expose you to contagious and infectious diseases.