Leukopenia: symptoms and treatment, causes
Leukocytes, the so-called white blood cells, are one of the most important and necessary cells that play an important role in the formation and functioning of immunity. Sometimes the number of white blood cells decreases to a critical point, in this case they speak of a disease called leukopenia.
This condition is a serious pathology and often occurs against the backdrop of other diseases, therefore each case of leukopenia needs to be diagnosed and the necessary medical measures.
Reasons for leukopenia
Leukopenia is considered a rather rare disease. It can be a consequence of other diseases, or arise on its own. In very rare cases, leukopenia is inherited as a genetic mutation of an autosomal dominant or an autosomal recessive type.
More often than not, leukopenia is manifested in people who have had some kind of cancer: various kinds of malignant tumors, metastases, aplastic anemia. In most such cases, it occurs as a result of prolonged radiation therapy.
To leukopenia may result in a number of infectious and viral diseases. In this case, we are talking about the severe course of diseases such as AIDS, sepsis, tuberculosis, Epstein-Barr virus, cytomegalovirus, rubella, hepatitis. Sometimes, to reduce the number of leukocytes lead to congenital or acquired metabolic disorders: a lack of vitamin B, copper, folic acid, a violation of the exchange of certain types of glycogen.
Also one of the causes of leukopenia may be the effect of long-term use of certain medications. Often, "culprits" of such a pathology are anticonvulsants, antihistamines, heavy metals, some analgesics and antidepressants.
Modern medicine distinguishes several varieties of leukopenia. First of all, this disease is divided into two varieties: absolute and redistributive.
For absolute leukopenia, a phenomenon is typical when the level of white blood cells drops to a level of 4000 in 1 cubic millimeter and below. In redistributive form, cells that normally should enter connective tissues remain circulating in the bloodstream.
Also, leukopenia is divided into congenital, autoimmune and idiopathic( one that does not have a specific cause).Depending on the term, acute leukopenia and chronic is isolated. The acute form lasts no more than 12 weeks, and chronic, respectively, longer.
Symptoms of leukopenia
The peculiarity of leukopenia is the fact that this disease does not have pronounced clinical symptoms. Its feature is a gradual decrease in the body's immune defenses. It manifests itself in frequent colds, headaches, weakness, dizziness.
With the progression of leukopenia, more serious symptoms may appear. The patient has small wounds in the oral cavity, ulcers in the intestine and stomach, may increase liver or spleen. Also at later stages there is an increase in temperature, chills.
Some people mistakenly believe that to make a diagnosis of "leukopenia" it is enough just to make a general blood test, which will show a decrease in the number of white blood cells. Since leukopenia can take many forms, other laboratory tests are also necessary.
In such cases, the following tests are mandatory:
- leukocyte formula
- number of red blood cells
- platelet count
- absolute level of neutrophils
Treatment of leukopenia
In view of the fact that leukopenia in most cases is not an independent disease, first of all, all the forces are sent for the treatment of the underlying disease. Thus, the patient can be prescribed antibiotics, corticosteroids, antihistamines, hepatoprotectors and other medications.
If leukopenia is caused by oncology, blood transfusion may be necessary, in severe cases - bone marrow transplantation.
There are also a number of drugs that directly affect the formation of blood cells. To such medicines belongs pentoxil, leuktogen, batilol, lenograstim and many others. The listed means show high efficiency in those cases when leukopenia was caused by a violation in the work of the bone marrow.
Given the fact that patients with leukopenia have significantly reduced immunity, treatment of the disease is usually done in the hospital. In this case, the patient is placed in an insulator, and the staff strictly adheres to the aseptic norms.
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