Granulocytopenia causes and symptoms

The condition called granulocytopenia reduces the concentration of neutrophils in the blood. Affected patients suffer from a significantly weakened immune system. The latter is associated with an increased susceptibility to infections.

With regard to the causes, several triggers can be considered. There is often damage to the bone marrow, which causes impaired production of granulocytes .

Weakened immune system – granulocytopenia reduces the concentration of granulocytes in the blood

If the doctor detects a reduced granulocyte value in the blood of a patient, he diagnoses granulocytopenia. The neutrophilic granulocytes belong to the group of white blood cells ( leukocytes ). In the case of a reduced number of leukocytes , the medical term is leukopenia . The presented granulocytopenia is the most common form of leukopenia. Medicine uses the terms neutrocytopenia or neutropenia synonymously for granulocytopenia .

Neutrocytopenia: The number of neutrophils falls below 1,500 cells per microliter

In a healthy body, the variable concentration of neutrophils ranges from 1,800 to 8,000 cells per microliter of blood. The threshold for granulocytopenia is 1,500 granulocytes per microliter. Between 1,500 and 1,000 cells per microliter it is a mild form of neutrocytopenia.

If the measured value falls within the range of 1,000 to 500 granulocytes per microliter, the doctor speaks of a moderate form. If the concentration in the blood falls below the limit of 500 cells, the doctor diagnoses a severe form of granulocytopenia.

In addition, there is a febrile form of the presented manifestation of neutrocytopenia. It applies if the patient has an elevated body temperature of 38 degrees Celsius for a period of more than one hour or a fever of more than 38.5 degrees Celsius once.

Like all white blood cells, neutrophilic granulocytes are part of the body’s immune system. A reduced number of granulocytes in the blood consequently impairs the associated non-specific immune tasks.

The patients show a temporary suppression of the immune system. The duration and extent of the suppressed condition depend on the specific causes of granulocytopenia. Meanwhile, those affected are at an increased risk of bacterial infections.

Various causes of a reduced granulocyte concentration

There are different causes that trigger neutropenia. The bone marrow is responsible for the formation of neutrophilic granulocytes. Granulocytopenia occurs when damaged bone marrow stops producing granulocytes as needed. Such educational disorders can be traced back to different potential causes. This includes:

  • toxic chemicals,
  • Antibiotics,
  • Chemotherapy,
  • various medicines,
  • Bone marrow damage from infections
  • Neoplastic damage to the bone marrow as in leukemia ,
  • autoimmune diseases .

In addition to the formation disorder in the bone marrow, increased consumption of granulocytes is considered an important trigger for granulocytopenia. Here, an acute inflammation – triggered by an infection – causes a heavy consumption of the white blood cells. For such situations, the body has cell reserves, which it mobilizes. However, if the requirement exceeds the amount of granulocytes produced, granulocytopenia occurs.

Therapy: Growth factors stimulate the production of granulocytes

Since granulocytopenia depends on one of the causes listed above, the therapy depends on the disease in question. In addition, the physicians use so-called granulocyte colony-stimulating factors (GCSF for short). These are growth factors that stimulate the maturation processes of the granulocytes and thereby increase their number in the blood.

If neutropenia is present, there is a need for preventive measures aimed at hygiene. In the case of long-lasting granulocytopenia, doctors recommend only contacting people who wear a face mask. They also advise disinfecting your hands beforehand. There may be a reason to isolate the patient in a single room. The preventive measures aim to keep pathogens away from the affected people and their weakened immune systems.

Summary of the essential statements about neutrocytopenia

In granulocytopenia, there are too few neutrophilic granulocytes circulating in the blood. As a result, the measured value falls below the limit of 1,500 cells per microliter. Possible causes are a disturbed formation of white blood cells in the bone marrow or a greatly increased consumption due to an infection. Subsequent treatment depends on the disease that caused it. In addition, the patients receive growth factors. They stimulate the production of neutrophilic granulocytes.

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Jamie Clark

Hello, I’m Jamie Clark, 32 years old, and I have been living in the USA for a few years.
Since I was a child, I have suffered from a house dust allergy, severely affecting me. I felt the effects both while exercising and while sleeping. Constant sneezing after getting up and difficult breathing were the consequences. The allergy has also developed into asthma, which is still a sporting restriction today.

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