What is it?

A low white blood cell count (leukopenia) is a decrease in disease-fighting cells (leukocytes) in the blood. Leukopenia is almost always related to a decrease in a certain type of white blood cell (neutrophil).

33 Alikes with Decreased white blood cell count

Learn from others
who are experiencing
Decreased white blood cell count.

Additional names

This group contains additional names:
- Low WBC count
- Leukopenia

Signs & symptoms

A patient probably won’t notice any signs of leukopenia. But if the WBC counts are very low, a person may have signs of infection, including:
* Fever
* Chills
* Sweating
* Sore throat
* Cough or shortness of breath
* An area of your body that’s become red, swollen, or painful
* An injury that’s draining pus
* Mouth sores or white patches in your mouth
* Painful urination


In order to diagnose leukopenia, the doctor will first do a physical exam and get your medical history. They’ll ask you about:
* what type of symptoms you’re having
* when your symptoms started
* whether you have a personal or family history of other health conditions, such as autoimmune disorders or cancers of the blood or bone marrow
* what types of medications you’re currently taking
* your lifestyle habits

A complete blood count (CBC) is one of the first tests that’s used to help diagnose leukopenia. This test will inform your doctor about the levels of WBCs, red blood cells, and platelets in the blood.
Once the WBC count is deemed low, the doctor will order other tests to help determine the cause of the condition. Some examples include:
* tests for viral infections like HIV or viral hepatitis
* cultures of an affected area to look for a bacterial or fungal infection
* blood tests for autoimmune conditions, which may include tests for inflammation like C-reactive protein or erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR) and tests for autoantibodies like rheumatoid factor or antinuclear antibody (ANA)
* tests of bone marrow, which can be collected using aspiration, biopsy, or both


Treatment for leukopenia depends on which type of WBC is low and what’s causing it to be so. a person may also need other treatments to take care of any infections that develop from not having enough WBCs. Common treatments include:
* Stopping treatments or medications that cause leukopenia
* Treating underlying conditions that cause leukopenia
* Antimicrobials- the doctor may prescribe medications to prevent an infection or to clear up an existing infection. Some examples include antifungals to treat fungal infections or antibiotics to treat bacterial infections.
* Growth factors- Granulocyte colony-stimulating factor and other growth factors derived from bone marrow can help the body to produce more WBCs. Some examples of growth factors that may be used include filgrastim (Neupogen) and pegfilgrastim (Neulasta).

☝️ This is not a substitute for professional medical advice. Please consult with your physician before making any medical decision.

Learn more about our editorial process for content accuracy.

Alike Wisdom

Instantly get answers to medical questions with our AI, built from the collective wisdom of our community facing similar experiences

Thank you! Your submission has been received!

Find people who are
experiencing a similar
medical reality

100% Free