People suffer from neutropenia when they have an abnormally low count of neutrophil cells. These cells are those white blood cells that are used by our body's immune system to protect us from the bacteria and other such organisms that invade our body. They are produced in our bone marrow and attack the areas of infection by traveling in the bloodstream. Under normal conditions, these cells release chemicals that kill the invading microorganisms.
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Symptoms of Neutropenia are not necessarily linked directly to the condition. These can also include the symptoms that come from the underlying diseases that cause Neutropenia. Most often people are not even aware of the problem, unless they get their blood tests for some other purpose.
Infections that do occur as a result of neutropenia usually attack the mucous membranes, like the ones found inside the skin and the mouth.
As the Neutrophil count gets lower, and the Neutropenia persists longer the riskier, it becomes in catching a serious infection.
Neutropenia is relatively uncommon in normal healthy people but it can likely be found in some people of Arabic, African descent or Yemenite Jews. Some causes of Neutropenia are:
Neutropenia can also result due to problems mentioned below:
Diagnosis is done based on the blood cell count of the blood sample taken from the patient's vein. Other tests may also be required to determine the cause of Neutropenia owing to a given situation. Sometimes biopsy of the bone marrow is also required.
The Neutropenia patient is treated based on the disease' underlying causes, severity, symptoms and infections present, and the condition of the patient. The treatment can target the underlying diseases as well as Neutropenia directly. Some direct treatments for Neutropenia include (note:-not all of the underlying treatments are appropriate as per the patient's condition)
Some preventive measures might be implemented in case of Neutropenic patients to minimize the risk of infections. These might include extra care in handwashing, private rooms, or for some patients, use of gowns, gloves, and/or facial masks by the caretakers.
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