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Leukopenia

What Is Leukopenia?

Leukopenia is a condition where the body doesn’t have enough disease-fighting leukocytes in the blood. It is associated with a low white blood cell count. White blood cells are produced by the bone marrow.

Leukopenia can be related to a number of factors including:

  • Aplastic anemia – A condition where the bone marrow doesn’t produce new blood cells
  • Autoimmune disorders – Conditions that attack the white blood cells or bone marrow cells, such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Cancer or diseases of the bone marrow – Such as multiple myeloma
  • Certain medications – Such as antibiotics, that destroy white blood cells
  • Cancer treatments – Including chemotherapy, radiation and bone marrow transplant
  • Congenital conditions – Conditions present at birth that affect the bone marrow
  • Infectious diseases – Such as HIV/AIDS
  • Hypersplenism – When the spleen destroys white blood cells
  • Kostmann’s syndrome – A congenital disorder of the bone marrow
  • Sarcoidosis – A collection of inflammatory cells in the body
  • Severe infection – An infection that uses white blood cells to fight infection faster than the body can produce them
  • Vitamin deficiencies or mineral deficiencies – Particularly vitamin B12, copper, folate and zinc

Symptoms

Many people with leukopenia have no symptoms. In severe cases, symptoms include infection, chills, fever above 100.4 degrees and sweating.

Treatment Options

Your treatment options will vary depending on what is causing leukopenia. Treatments include:

  • Discontinuing treatment that causes low white blood cell counts – Can include medications, chemotherapy or radiation
  • Growth factor therapy – Treatment derived from bone marrow that can stimulate white blood cell production
  • Low-bacterial diet – A diet that minimizes your exposure to bacteria found in certain foods, such as raw, unwashed produce or undercooked meat
  • Medications – Therapy that helps the body produce more blood cells or that fights the infection that is causing low white blood cell counts

Ready for an Appointment?

If you're experiencing signs or symptoms of leukopenia, schedule an appointment or call 800-TEMPLE-MED (800-836-7536) today.

Learn more about our doctors and care team who diagnose and treat leukopenia.