Neutropenia (low neutrophils)

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Neutropenia (low neutrophils)


What is neutropenia? How is it treated?

No name
No state given


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
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