Courses for Kids
Free study material
Offline Centres
Store Icon


share icon
share icon

Leukopenia Definition

MVSAT 2024

Leukopenia in the greek language is split into two words that are leuco and penia. Leuco means white and penia means deficiency. So leukopenia meaning is the decrease in the number of white blood cells. They exist in the blood and are white blood cells, which are the body's main defence against infection. Therefore, leukopenia puts people at a higher risk of infection. Symptoms may include mouth or skin ulcers, sore throat, cough, shortness of breath, dizziness, fever, chills, or body aches. 

Neutropenia is a subtype of leukopenia, which refers to a decrease in the number of circulating neutrophils. The neutrophils are the most abundant white blood cells in the body. Sometimes the terms leukopenia and neutropenia are used interchangeably because the neutrophil count is the most important indicator of the risk of infection. An agranulocytosis is an acute form of neutropenia. This is basic leukopenia meaning and leukopenia medical definition. 

About Leukopenia

Leukopenia meaning is that it is a disease in which the number of white blood cells in the body is very low. Blood is mainly divided into three different categories that are erythrocytes called red blood cells (RBC), leucocytes(WBC), which are white blood cells, and thrombocytes, called platelets, all of which are made in the stem cells of the bone marrow. White blood cells are responsible for maintaining a healthy immune system, so in leukopenia, when their concentration is reduced, the system's ability to fight the disease is also hampered. Generally, a normal, healthy person has a white blood cell count of between 3,500 and 11,000 white blood cells per microliter. In the case of leukopenia, the blood characteristics of the affected individual show a significant decrease in the number of white blood cells, below 3,500 White blood cells per microliter. This always leads to a weakened immune system and increases the risk of infection, so a medical professional should be informed in order to resolve the leukopenia situation in time. There are five different types of white blood cells, each of which creates resistance to overcome different types of diseases. These are neutrophils, which can resist fungal and bacterial diseases, lymphocytes can resist viruses, basophils can fight allergens and inflammation, and monocytes can kill all pathogens, inflammation, and eosinophils. They can eradicate parasitic infections and allergies. Therefore, there are five main types of leukopenia, depending on which type of White blood cells has very few numbers. 

[Image will be Uploaded Soon]

Leukopenia Causes 

Leukopenia medical term is that it is the low white blood cell count that may be due to an acute viral infection, such as a cold or flu. It is related to chemotherapy, radiation therapy, myelofibrosis, reproductive anaemia that is insufficient production of white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets, stem cell transplantation, bone marrow transplantation, HIV, AIDS, and steroid use. 

Leukopenia causes can be by insufficient synthesis of white blood cells in the bone marrow or by damaging factors that damage healthy white blood cells in the bloodstream. 

Viral diseases such as influenza, certain blood cancers such as leukaemia, and autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis can cause leukopenia. Diseases that impair the function of blood cells and bone marrow, such as overactive spleen and aplastic anaemia, can also induce leukopenia, and the main reason for leucopenia causes. 


Certain drugs can change the number and function of white blood cells. Drugs that can cause leukopenia with lymphocytosis include clozapine, an antipsychotic drug with rare side effects that can cause all granulocytes (neutrophils, basophils, eosinophils) to disappear completely. Long-term use of the antidepressant and smoking addiction drug bupropion hydrochloride (Wellbutrin) can also cause leukopenia. Minocycline is a commonly used antibiotic and another drug known to cause leukopenia with thrombocytopenia. There are also reports that divalproex sodium or valproic acid (Depakote) causes leukopenia, a drug used to treat epilepsy that are seizures, mania with bipolar disorder, and migraine. The anticonvulsant lamotrigine is associated with decreased white blood cell count.  The FDA monograph on metronidazole states that this drug may also cause leukopenia, and the prescription information indicates that a complete blood count, including a differential cell count, should be taken before and after high-dose treatment, in particular. Immunosuppressive drugs, such as sirolimus, mycophenolate mofetil, tacrolimus, cyclosporine, leflunomide, and TNF inhibitors, have known complications of leukopenia. Interferons used to treat multiple cases of sclerosis, such as interferon beta-1a and interferon beta-1b, can also cause leukopenia. Chemotherapy targets fast-growing cells, such as tumours, but it can also affect white blood cells because they are characterized by the rapid growth of the bone marrow. A common side effect of cancer treatment is neutropenia, which is a reduction in neutrophils (a specific type of white blood cell). In the case of arsenic poisoning, a decrease in the white blood cell count may occur.  

Want to read offline? download full PDF here
Download full PDF
Is this page helpful?

FAQs on Leukopenia

1. How Does the Treatment of Leukopenia Take Place?

Answer: Once the root cause of leukopenia has been determined, appropriate treatment measures will be taken for the patient. If it is determined to be a powerful drug for the treatment of blood-related cancers such as leukaemia, chemotherapy, radiotherapy, and bone marrow stem cell transplantation will be temporarily stopped to help increase the concentration of white blood cells in the body. The doctor also recommends strictly following a diet rich in essential nutrients and stimulating immunity, adequate rest, and avoiding injuries. Bruises can cause further blood loss. These lifestyle changes help patients with leukopenia recover faster, restore their white blood cell count to normal levels, and ensure a complete recovery from fever and other annoying symptoms.

2. What are the Other Leukopenia Causes?

Answer: Other causes of low white blood cell counts include systemic lupus erythematosus, Hodgkin's lymphoma, certain cancers, typhoid fever, malaria, tuberculosis, dengue fever, rickettsiae infection, splenomegaly, folic acid deficiency, psittacosis, sepsis, dryness Syndrome and Lyme disease. It has also been proven to be caused by a lack of certain minerals, such as copper and zinc. Pseudo Leukocytopenia may occur early in the infection. White blood cells, mainly neutrophils, are the first ones to respond to damage and they begin to migrate to the infection site, where they can be scanned. Its migration causes the bone marrow to produce more white blood cells to fight the infection and restore circulating white blood cells, but because the blood samples collected at the beginning of the infection contain a small number of white blood cells. 

Competitive Exams after 12th Science