Neutropenia (Neutrophil Deficiency) – Causes, Symptoms, and Treatment

Have you ever heard of neutropenia? Neutropenia is an abnormal condition in neutrophils. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell that prevents bacterial infections. In the body of neutropenic patients, the number of neutrophils in the blood is very low.

Neutrophils are cells in the immune system that attack bacteria and other organisms when entering a person’s body. Neutrophils are white blood cells. Bone marrow makes these neutrophil cells to go into the bloodstream and move to infected areas of the body. Neutrophils are cells that will release chemicals to kill bacteria or organisms that attack the body.

Neutrophils can be divided into segmented neutrophils or segmented and banded neutrophils. This type of neutrophil forms part of the polymorphonuclear cell family together with basophils and eosinophils.

Type of Neutropenia (Neutrophil Deficiency)

There are various types of neutropenia that make the number of neutrophils in the body drastically reduced, including the following.

1. Cyclic neutropenia

The first type of neutropenia is cyclic neutropenia. This is a rare congenital syndrome that causes fluctuations in the number of neutrophils, this affects about 1 in 1 million people

2. Kostmann’s Syndrome

This is a genetic disorder where neutrophils are produced at a lower level. People with Kostmann’s syndrome are prone to infections from an early age.

3. Chronic idiopathic neuro

This is a relatively common version of neutropenia, mainly affecting women.

4. Myelokathexis

This is a condition where neutrophils fail to move from the bone marrow (where they are created) to the bloodstream.

5. Autoimmune neutropenia

Disease lacking the number of neutrophils is caused by neutrophils destroyed or damaged by the immune system, so this type of neutropenia is called autoimmune neutropenia.

6. Shwachman-Diamond Syndrome

This is a rare genetic disorder with a variety of effects including dwarfism, problems with the pancreas, and low neutrophil counts.

7. Neutropenia neonate Isoimun

This is a condition in which maternal antibodies cross the placenta and attack developing fetal neutrophils. This condition generally resolves itself within two months of life. Can be asymptomatic or cause sepsis.

Causes of Neutropenia (Neutrophil Deficiency)

The cause of neutropenia or the body has a very low number of neutrophils, including the following.

  • There was a problem producing neutrophils in the bone marrow
  • Destruction of neutrophils outside the bone marrow
  • Infection
  • Nutritional deficiency.

Causes of decreased neutrophil production:

  • Problems from birth (congenital) in the bone marrow
  • Leukemia and other conditions that affect bone marrow or bone marrow failure
  • Radiation
  • Chemotherapy.

Infections that cause neutropenia:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Dengue fever
  • Viral infections such as Epstein-Barr, cytomegalovirus, HIV, and hepatitis.

Increased neutrophil destruction can be caused by the body’s immune system which targets neutrophils to be destroyed. This can be related to “autoimmune” conditions such as:

  • Crohn’s disease
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Lupus

In some people, neutropenia can be caused by certain medications such as:

  • Antibiotics
  • Blood pressure medication
  • Psychiatric medicine
  • Epilepsy drugs.

Symptoms of Neutropenia

Neutropenia often does not cause symptoms. In some cases, people find themselves experiencing neutropenia when undergoing blood tests for things not related to neutropenia, where the blood test shows a very low number of neutrophils.

However, in some cases, people can have symptoms from infections or other underlying problems caused by neutropenia.

Infection can occur as a complication of neutropenia which often occurs in mucous membranes (mucous membranes) such as in the mouth and on the skin. Infection can appear in the form of: ulcers or sores, abscesses, redness, and wounds that heal for a long time. Fever can also be a common symptom for infection.

The risk of serious infections will increase with:

  • The number of neutrophils continues to fall
  • The longer duration of severe neutropenia.

Diagnosis of Neutropenia

Neutropenia is diagnosed by the number of blood cells carried out on a blood sample removed from a vein. To determine the specific cause of neutropenia in certain situations, other tests may be needed. Sometimes a bone marrow biopsy may be needed to diagnose the specific cause of neutropenia.

Neutropenia Treatment

Neutropenia therapy

When deciding on therapy, health care providers must consider the cause and severity of neutropenia. Mild cases may not require therapy.

Neutropenia treatment approaches include:

  • Antibiotics for bacterial infections
  • Drugs that suppress the immune system
  • A therapy called granulocyte-colony stimulating factor (G-CSF) which stimulates the bone marrow to produce more white blood cells. It is used for several types of neutropenia, such as congenital types. This therapy can be a life-saving therapy in this case
  • Change the drug consumed, if possible, in the case of neutropenia caused by certain medications
  • Bone marrow transplantation can be useful for treating several types of severe neutropenia, including those caused by bone marrow problems.

People with neutropenia often need special steps to prevent infection. These specific steps include:

  • Maintain good hygiene, including frequent hand washing and good dental care, such as regular toothbrushes and flossing – cleaning between teeth using floss
  • Prevent contact with sick people
  • Always use shoes
  • Clean the arms when injured and cover immediately with a bandage
  • Use an electric shaver instead of a razor blade
  • Prevent touching animal waste, and don’t change baby’s diapers
  • Prevent pasteurized foods, undercooked meat, raw fruit, raw vegetables, and other raw food ingredients
  • Stay away from ponds or rivers.

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