Neutropenia (low neutrophils)

content provided by mayoclinic.com

Neutropenia (low neutrophils)

Question

What is neutropenia? How is it treated?

No name
No state given

Answer

Neutropenia is an abnormally low number of neutrophils — a type of white blood cell — in the blood. White blood cells help fight bacterial infections. Neutropenia isn't a specific disease but a sign of an underlying problem.

Mild neutropenia usually causes no symptoms. It may be found incidentally on a blood test done for some other reason. Severe neutropenia increases the risk of infection of the lungs, kidneys, blood and skin.

Neutropenia has many causes, including:

  • Side effect of certain medications, such as diuretics or antibiotics
  • Vitamin deficiencies
  • Leukemia
  • Aplastic anemia
  • Radiation therapy or chemotherapy
  • Some viral infections, such as mononucleosis or AIDS
  • Certain bacterial infections, such as tuberculosis
  • Certain autoimmune disorders, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis

Treatment is directed at the underlying cause of neutropenia when possible.

Last Updated: 08/15/2006
© 1998-2014 Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research (MFMER). All rights reserved. A single copy of these materials may be reprinted for noncommercial personal use only. "Mayo," "Mayo Clinic," "MayoClinic.com," "Mayo Clinic Health Information," "Reliable information for a healthier life" and the triple-shield Mayo logo are trademarks of Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research.

Terms and conditions of use

 

Bookmark and Share   E-Mail Page   Printer Friendly Version