What Happens If A Low White Blood Cell Count Goes Untreated?

A healthy White Blood Cell Count is one of the greatest insurances against infections that a human being can enjoy. White Blood Cells and the antibodies produced within the body are the main defenses against foreign organisms. A low White Cell Count is unhealthy and dangerous, and if remain untreated, can lead to several adverse complications.
What Happens if a Low White Blood Cell Count Goes Untreated?
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White Blood Cells, The Main Defence of Our Bodies

White blood cells or LEUCOCYTES are the main defence of the body against infection by micro-organisms. Normally, every micro litre of blood contains between 4000 to 11000 white blood cells When their count falls below 4000, it is considered as 'low white blood cell count' or 'LEUCOCYTOPENIA.'

The white blood cells include five different types of cells, NEUTROPHILS, LYMPHOCYTES, MONOCYTES, EOSINOPHILS and BASOPHILS. Each of them has its own function. However, since neutrophils make up around 40 to 45 % of all white blood cells, a low white blood count usually means a

fall in the neutrophils count.

A person with a low white blood cell count does not have adequate immunity against infections, especially bacterial infections, and can easily fall prey to them.

Risk of Infection: Depends on Neutrophil Count

Lower the white blood cell count in bold, greater will be the vulnerability to infections. ABSOLUTE NEUTROPHIL COUNT (ANC) suggests the risk of infection. Till the ANC is above 1500/ul, the increase in risk is not substantial. When it falls below 1500/ul, the frequency of infections is likely to rise. When ANC falls below 1000/ul, there is moderate risk to infection. With an ANC of 1000 to 500 per micro litre, the risk is very high, and at an ANC below 100/ul, the risk of infection is extremely high.

Consequences of Untreated Low White Blood Cell Count

If the low white blood cell count continues to remain untreated, there can be significant consequences.

(i) The most important consequence is increased vulnerability of infections. There can be different types of bacterial infections right from sore throat to skin infections. A person with low white blood cell count can also

get infections which a person with adequate immunity is unlikely to get. There could also be an increased frequency of fungal infections like CANDIDIASIS and TINEA.

(ii) The second important consequence of untreated low white blood cell count is increased likelihood to develop cancers. In a normal healthy individual, cells that show deviations from the normal are usually treated by the white cells as foreign or alien cells and destroyed. In the absence of adequate immunity provided by them, they can continue to multiply and lead to growth of cancer.

(iii) Another important consequence is a general loss of weight and health. Frequent infections impose enormous strain on the body, which brings down the health of the individual.

(iv) Usually a person with low white cell count is less likely to develop allergy and hypersensitivity reactions, because these reactions also require white blood cells.

Precautions

The primary objective in case of low white blood cell count is to prevent exposure to infections. Thus most of the precautions pertain to avoiding contact with infective organisms, minimizing exposure and taking measures that would somehow prevent the bacteria from settling or spreading in the body. In view of increased vulnerability to infections, even low grade fever, sore throat, small pustules or burning sensation in urination need to be promptly brought to the notice of the physician.
 



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