White Blood Cell Disorders
The body produces white blood cells, called leukocytes, which help fight infection. When your body produces too many white blood cells it results in a blood disorder called leukocytosis. When your body isn’t producing enough white blood cells to fight off infection it is called leukopenia.
Leukopenia occurs when the production of white blood cells is disrupted. This can be caused by viral infections, autoimmune disorders, congenital disorders, certain types of medications, or cancer. Some medical treatments such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy can also cause leukopenia. Some of the more common symptoms of leukopenia include:
Treatments for leukopenia often involve steroids to help stimulate bone marrow growth along with medications to eliminate infections.
Leukocytosis occurs when the body produces too many white blood cells. An increase in white blood cells is often temporary, and the body will naturally adjust the levels back to normal over a period of time. Physical stress from seizures, anesthesia, overexertion, or emotional stress can temporarily elevate white blood cells. Certain medications such as corticosteroids, lithium, and beta agonists can also cause elevation. Occasionally an increased white blood cell count is due to a more serious blood disorder such as leukemia. Some of the more common symptoms of leukocytosis include:
- Unexplained weight loss
- Night sweats
- Bruises easily
- Enlarged liver, spleen, or lymph nodes
Many times a person’s white blood cell count will return to normal without treatment; however, IV fluids and medicines to reduce inflammation are sometime given to reduce the production of white blood cells.
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