Leucopenia is a condition where the numbers of white blood cells present in the blood are decreased. White blood cells are also called as leukocytes. The normal count of white blood cells is 5000-10000 per cubic millimetre. When the count drops down below 3500 per cubic millimetre in the blood, the person is said to be suffering with leucopenia.
When the total count of white blood cells is decreased, the person loses the ability to fight infections. Leucopenia is generally associated with other diseases like aplastic anaemia and autoimmune diseases. White blood cells are the main key factors that constitute the immune system of the body.
Leukocytes or white blood cells
White blood cells are also called leukocytes. There are around 7000 white blood cells per microliter of blood which forms around 1 % of the total blood volume in a healthy individual. Leukocytes are classified into 2 types based on the presence of granules.
Cells with granules are referred to as granulocytes. Granulocytes are also called polymorphonuclear leukocytes. The granules present in the cells are membrane bound enzymes. These enzymes act on the invading organism that has been engulfed by the cells. Granulocytes are again categorized into 3 different types based on their staining properties.
Agranulocytes are also called mononuclear leukocytes and the granules are absent in these cells. Agranulocytes contains different granules that help in killing the organism. Agranulocytes also has 3 different types of cells:
The most common form of leukopenia is neutropenia. Around 45 to 75 percent of the total white blood cell count comprise of neutrophils. Neutrophils play a major role in fighting against microbial infection like bacterial, viral, fungal and parasitic infections. Neutrophils are also referred to as initial fighters of the immune system.
Neutropenia generally increases the risk of bacterial infection. If left untreated neutropenia can cause life-threatening infections and in severe cases, death can also happen.
Causes of Leucopoenia
Leucopenia is caused due to different diseases like:
Bone marrow damage
Bone marrow damage can result in a condition called leukopenia. Bone marrow damage occurs due to the exposure of certain chemicals that acts as toxins, chemotherapy, radiation therapy and certain drugs. Toxins and chemotherapy decrease the production of cells and that leads to leukopenia and anemia.
Bone marrow disease
Patients suffering from bone marrow disease do not produce sufficient white blood cells. In some cases, they produce selectively excess of one type of WBC resulting in lack of other types of WBC.
Patients suffering from cancer also face the leucopenia condition when cancer spread to the bone marrow. This is seen generally in lymphoma patients.
Autoimmune disorders can also cause leucopenia. In this condition, the body fails to recognize its own cells and attacks and kills its own cells. This condition is called lupus or systemic lupus erythematosus (SLE)
Hypersplenism is caused due to the enlargement of the spleen and it destroys the blood cells leading to leukopenia along with anemia.
Infections can destroy the white blood cells can cause leukopenia.
Deficiency of essential nutrient in the diet can cause malnutrition. When there is the deficiency of nutrients like copper and zinc it may lead to leukopenia.
Medicines that are taken for the treatment of certain diseases can also result in the reduction of WBC count. Drugs used for a migraine, epilepsy and many other immunosuppressive drugs can also cause leukopenia by reducing the number of white blood cells in the body. Interferon proteins that are generally used in the treatment of multiple sclerosis can also cause leukopenia.
Antidepressant drugs and drugs that are used to treat smoking addiction can also lead to a decrease in the total count of white blood cells.
Leukopenia can be treated naturally with simple home remedies.
Green tea is having many health benefits and can be used to prevent many different diseases. It is rich in vitamins and stimulates white blood cells production. It improves circulation. Green tea also helps in strengthening the immune system.
Echinacea is a medicinal herb that boosts the immune system activity as it is rich in vitamin content.
Eating garlic can help in increasing the total white blood cell count. It also helps in fighting against infections by stimulating immune cells.
Zinc is also referred to as immune booster. It helps in fighting against common cold and flu symptoms. Zinc deficiency in patients increases the risk of infections. Food products rich in zinc must be consumed to increase the total count of white blood cells. The zinc rich food products are beef, lamb, oysters, spinach and wheat germ.
Folic acid is required by the body to make white blood cells or leukocytes. Excess intake of folic acids results in increased production of white blood cells. Deficiency of folic acid leads to anemia. Foods rich in folic acids are Spinach, citrus fruits, and beans.
Recent research says that selenium can help in making white blood cells. Selenium also helps in preventing chronic infections. When selenium is consumed by older people, their immune responded in a better way to flu vaccine.
People who consume more amounts of probiotics have stronger immune system than people who do not consume it. Probiotic also boost the total white blood cell count in the body of the patient.
Apart from the medication and supplement it is recommended to have a nutritious diet to prevent the risk of different diseases. Naturally consuming the nutrients through food is preferable when compared to artificial supplements. Increase intake of steroids and vitamins to activate the bone marrow that eventually increase the production of leukocytes.
Therapies like cytokine therapy can also be used to increase the total white blood cells count. A healthy lifestyle along with a perfect balanced nutritious diet helps in regaining the white blood cells count.