What is Neutropenia? Know its Causes, Symptoms and Treatment
It is common to have an infection but when the level of white blood cells (neutrophils) in the body becomes very low due to which the risk of getting infection increases. This condition of the blood is called neutropenia. Without enough neutrophils, the human body cannot fight bacteria due to which the body is surrounded by many diseases.
What is Neutrophils?
The main reason for any kind of infection in the body is the entry of some kind of bacteria or virus into the body. In this condition, the white blood cells present in the body protect the person from that virus or bacteria. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell that protects the person from disease occurring in the body.
Neutrophils are a common type of white blood cell that plays an important role especially in fighting infections caused by bacteria. The abnormal form of neutrophils in the body is called neutropenia. On this basis, it would not be wrong to say that neutropenia is a disease that occurs in humans due to an abnormally low number of neutrophils. Also, patients suffering from it are susceptible to bacterial infection.
Causes of Neutropenia
Chemotherapy or radiation therapy-
Due to chemotherapy and radiation therapy during cancer treatment, neutropenia cells present in the blood begin to get damaged. As a result, the person suffers from neutropenia.
Infection by bacteria or virus-
Most of the cases are due to viral infection but apart from this, fungal and bacterial infections can also cause neutropenia. These mainly include malaria, tuberculosis, AIDS etc.
Some bone marrow diseases that occur from birth are also caused by a lack of neutrophils. These mainly include Kostmann syndrome etc.
Bone marrow diseases-
Many diseases related to bone marrow also cause neutropenia. These include leukemia, myelodysplastic syndrome, myelofibrosis and aplastic anemia, etc.
As the spleen enlarges, it begins to damage neutrophil cells that cause neutropenia.
Autoimmune diseases, by themselves or in combination with some other kind of problem, start damaging neutrophil cells. Apart from this, the consumption of some medicines also damages neutrophil cells.
The lack of vitamin B12 or folate in the human body is also a cause of neutropenia because its deficiency causes megaloblastic anaemia.
Other causes of neutropenia-
- Irregular diet.
- Lack of nutrients in the body.
- On taking more drugs.
- Because of many medical conditions.
Symptoms of Neutropenia
In most cases, no symptoms develop from neutropenia. It is usually detected only after taking a blood test, especially for those who are being treated with chemotherapy. These people are at higher risk of getting this disease that's why they should keep getting their blood checked regularly. Apart from this, many harmful symptoms of neutropenia are seen due to exposure to infection. Let us discuss these symptoms-
- Having a high fever.
- Having pneumonia.
- Sinus infection.
- Ear infection.
- Sores or swelling in the mouth and gums.
- Skin deterioration.
- Burning in urination.
- Difficulty in breathing.
- Deterioration of mental balance.
- Abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea etc.
Types of Neutropenia
Severe congenital neutropenia-
This type of neutropenia is called Kostmann syndrome. In this condition, the level of neutrophils is very low. In most cases, it is seen in infants and young children.
This is a type of neutropenia caused by a lack of neutrophils. The variation is found in its 21-day cycle. It counts below normal. The period of cyclic neutropenia lasts only a few days. After this, the cycle resets again.
In this type of neutropenia, the human body makes antibodies that fight themselves with neutrophils (a type of white blood cell). These antibodies help kill neutrophils. This causes neutropenia.
It can develop and affect anyone at any point in life. The main cause of idiopathic neutropenia is not yet known.
- Take these precautions in case of neutropenia-
- Take special care of cleanliness.
- Avoid the consumption of oily and fatty food.
- Avoid going in infectious and polluted environments.
- Wash hands thoroughly with soap before eating food.
- After using the washroom, take special care of handwash.
- Always cover the mouth and nose with a handkerchief or tissue when coughing or sneezing.
- Eat only properly cooked hot food.
- Avoid drinks and foods from outside stores.
- Use boiled water daily.
Home remedies to increase White blood cells
Garlic is beneficial-
Garlic is hot and natural antibiotic with effect. Therefore, grind 5 to 7 cloves of garlic and fry it in ghee and eat it after mixing rock salt. By doing this, it removes the deficiency of hemoglobin due to which the number of neutrophils (white blood cells) remains normal. As a result, the body is able to fight bacteria and boosts immunity. Apart from this, the consumption of garlic also helps in lowering blood pressure and the hardening of blood arteries.
Elements like phytonutrients found in broccoli detox the body and prevent many diseases from occurring. Apart from this, broccoli is considered a good source of iron. Therefore, the consumption of broccoli works by making red blood cells in the body and delivering oxygen to different parts of the body. It also helps in purifying the blood due to which the number of neutrophils (white blood cells) is maintained in sufficient quantity in the body. Therefore, consuming broccoli is good for health.
Turmeric and dry ginger-
Sonth means dry ginger which has antibacterial properties. This property eliminates the bacteria that cause infection in the body. Apart from this, gingerol and capsaicin are found in ginger which provides better health to the body. Therefore, the consumption of dry ginger also provides protection from diseases like neutropenia.
Red capsicum is a good source of vitamin C and carotene. It increases the level of haemoglobin in the body and boosts the immune system. Apart from this, the vitamin C and carotene present in it help in keeping the eyes and skin healthy.
Tulsi has antioxidant properties, which work to protect the body from the problems caused by the changing season. Tulsi enhances immunity and also protects the body from infection-causing bacteria.
Consumption of foods rich in folic acid and vitamins-
The body needs folic acid to make healthy red blood cells. Also, vitamin 'A' protects the body from infection. In such a situation, a deficiency of both of these can cause neutropenia or white blood cell deficiency. Following are some sources that are rich in folic acid and vitamins which we should consume regularly-
- Dark yellow fruits, green leafy vegetables and citrus fruits are good sources of vitamins A and C.
- Groundnuts, mushrooms, bran flour, millets, pulses, dry fruits, jaggery etc. are good sources of folic acid.
- Eggs, meat, fish etc. are good sources of folic acid.
Treatment of Neutropenia
The treatment of neutropenia depends on the cause. The infection should be treated on that basis. This leads to the development of neutropenia. Based on the severity and form of the disease, the doctor treats it. During the treatment, the doctor lays the main emphasis on strengthening the immune system of the patient. Along with this, medicines like antibiotics and vitamins are used to strengthen immunity from drugs. Using these tests the doctor treats neutropenia.