Neutropenia is considered to be a granulocyte disorder that is commonly distinguished by a low number of neutrophils within the body. The neutrophils are usually supposed to make up around fifty to seventy percent of the circulating while blood cells which help to serve as the defense against infections in the body. They are most recognized for their ability to destroy the harmful bacteria that may be present within the blood. As a result, individuals who have neutropenia are more likely to get bacterial infections. This can be a large cause for concern because if these individuals are not able to get the medical attention that is required, these infections can progress into something worse and may even become life threatening to the individual affected.
The condition of neutropenia is considered to be acute or chronic, depending on how long the individual may have had the illness. If someone has had neutropenia for longer than a period of three months, they are considered to have chronic neutropenia. At times, the term for this condition is also used interchangeably with the term of leukopenia, which is the decline in the number of white blood cells that are present within the body. Generally speaking, neutropenia is considered to be a subset of the condition of leukopenia as a whole. There are many different causes of neutropenia, which can range from issues with the production cells from the bone marrow to the overall destruction of cells throughout the body. Because the cause for the condition can vary, the treatment tends to vary depending on the main cause of the condition.
There are a wide amount of causes that can be defined in leading towards neutropenia. These can include elements such as exposure to radiation, medications, hereditary disorders, arsenic poisoning, anemia, cancer, chemotherapy, and many other indications. Those who have viral infections may lead to mild neutropenia. Likewise, those who are taking anti-psychotic medicines may experience a condition known as morning pseudoneutropenia.
In order to diagnose this condition, the doctor must find low neutrophil counts within the full blood count of the individual affected. There are other tests which the doctor may run in order to ensure that the diagnosis is completely correct. If the diagnosis is unclear or may be uncertain, the use of a bone marrow biopsy may be used to reduce any further speculation. Some of the tests that are commonly performed to determine whether or not an individual is suffering from neutropenia include vitamin B12 and folate assays, acidified serum test, antineutrophil tests, screenings from autoantibodies, and tests for systemic lupus erythematosus.