Low lymphocyte count (lymphocytopenia) in terms of medical sciences is known as lymphocytopenia and it is one of a serious health concern. The white blood cells in the body are important as they help to fight against infections. Low lymphocyte count hence makes the body weak in terms of resistance against infectious diseases.
- 1 What is low lymphocyte count and what does it indicate?
- 2 What does it mean if you have low lymphocyte count?
- 3 How to treat low lymphocyte count?
What is low lymphocyte count and what does it indicate?
Lymphocytes are white blood cells in the body which help the body to prevent against certain infections caused by virus or bacteria. Low lymphocyte count results in weak resistance of the body and more chances of developing certain types of cancers.
Three main type of lymphocytes are found in the body:
- B cells
- T cells
- Natural killer cells
White blood cells or lymphocytes are present in the body as an important component of blood cells. The lymphocyte count normal range in healthy human body is 1,000 to 4,800 lymphocytes/ ml of blood. When the amount of white blood cells fell short of this normal range the condition is known as low lymphocyte count or lymphocytopenia.
What does it mean if you have low lymphocyte count?
When absolute lymphocyte count low in the body it means that immune system is getting weaker. Low lymphocyte count means that the absolute lymphocyte counts low in the body, as discussed above three types of lymphocytes are present in the body (B, T and NK). When the amount of B cells decreases in the body it can result in decrease in plasma cells of the body which are meant to produce antibodies. Antibodies are actually proteins which along with immune system fight against bacterial and viral infections and protect the body. When the amount of T or NK cells is lowered in the body, the body fails to fight against infections particularly viral and fungal infections. When absolute lymphocyte count low persists in the body for a long time, it can result in uncontrolled infections with deadly outcomes. The Low lymphocyte count cause number of infections and diseases in the body.
Low lymphocyte count cause and risks:
There are so many factors which result in absolute lymphocyte count low. Acquired as well as inherited causes are always important to consider. There are some acute causes which appear all of a sudden and condition goes away when the problem is resolved. On the other hand, there are some chronic or long term causes and these are generally an indicator of long lasting infection in the body.
Symptoms of low lymphocyte count in the body:
It is generally a tricky thing to sort out the condition when absolute lymphocyte count low as the condition stays in the body with no low lymphocyte symptoms. Generally when a person gets blood test for other disease, the state of absolute lymphocyte count low is noticed. The symptoms are however different depending on person to person.
- Swollen or enlarged lymph nodes and abnormal size of spleen are the indicators of cancer or HIV infection. The low lymphocyte count cause is generally a cancer which is growing inside the body.
- Fever, persistent cough and flu are the indicators of viral infections in the body.
- The rheumatoid arthritis is caused because of swollen joints which are painful and accompanied by rash.
The low lymphocyte count in the body results in frequent bacterial, viral or fungal infections. When the amount of one type of blood cell increases abnormally, it can result in the decrease in other type of cells drastically. Hence for this reason it is possible for one to have low lymphocytes and high neutrophils.
How to treat low lymphocyte count?
What is causing the problem is a key to treat the condition in the body when absolute lymphocyte counts low. Here are some possible ways by which the doctors can treat this condition.
There are some drugs which drastically lower the count of lymphocytes in the body, as soon as the condition is diagnosed, the doctor will ask you to withhold the drug and with the passage of time the condition will resolve without any other therapy. Among other low lymphocyte causes this drug related decrease in lymphocytes is a key and is seen normally in the people with long term use of certain drug.
One of the main causes of low count of white blood cells or lymphocytopenia is AIDS. In this case, treatment includes the combination of antiviral drugs to increase the count of T cells in the body to prolong the time of survival of a person.
If the chronic illness is causing low lymphocyte count, the treatment will be provided accordingly. With the cure of disease, it is expected that WBC count will come back to normal. If the condition persists, the doctors will recommend some other blood tests. Low lymphocyte count in pregnancy is due to the body’s natural response to pregnancy in the beginning so that the body cells do not detect fetus as a foreign body.
If the condition is mild and there is no prominent or visible cause of the concern, doctor will not recommend any specific treatment. Most probably, the condition will normalize with time.
How to increase lymphocytes in the body by dietary means?
When pathogens attack the body, the role of lymphocytes is always important as they fight against these pathogens providing resistance to the body and keeping the body protected against certain infectious diseases. A diet which is rich in vitamins is needed to boost up the production of lymphocytes in the body. If a person is suffering from low lymphocytes, there are several ways by which a nutritious diet will be helpful.
- A food rich in proteins, as amino acids are key for the making and functioning of lymphocytes hence protein rich diet is a key to increase lymphocyte count in the body.
- Vitamin A in the body plays an important role to strengthen the body’s immune system.
- Vitamin B6 is also an immune boosting vitamin in the body as it helps in the development of lymphocytes. The food rich in vitamin B6 are salmon, chicken, Turkey etc.
- Avoid high fat or caloric food and add more dry fruits and nuts in the diet.
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