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What causes low white cell count?

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2009
Answered : 3094 Questions
Is there anything other than cancer which causes a low white cell count
Posted Wed, 26 Feb 2014 in Blood Disorders
Answered by Dr. Luchuo Engelbert Bain 53 minutes later
Brief Answer: Many other conditions cited below Detailed Answer: Hi and thanks for the query, Numerous conditions could lead to low white blood cell counts apart from cancer. The interpretation of a complete blood count deserves a very keen attention. It is also important to note that some cancers also present themselves with high white blood cell counts. There are many sub types of white blood cells, mainly lymphocytes, neutrophils, Basophils etc. A general reduction in total white blood cell count might not be very informative at some point, but shall require some precision as to which specific white blood cell sjub type is low, to permit an appropriate diagnostic orientation. - Infections like Typhoid fever could cause low white blood cell counts - Drugs like those used cancers could also cause reduce white blood cell levels - Viral infections can also cause reduced white blood cell levels - Autoimmune disease like systemic lupus erythematosus usually presents itself with low white blood cell levels. - Chronic kidney disease could also present with low white blood cell count. A proper interpretation and management of low white blood cell levels deserves a properly conducted physical examination by your doctor, your past medical history and surgical history, specific sub type of white cell lineage reduced, examination of blood under a microscope, at times a bone marrow aspirate, genetic studies, actually being guided by the above cited clinical parameters. I conclude by saying, apart from cancers, the cited agents could give low white cell counts. an interpretation deserves much expertize, and at times, many more tests. Common diseases like Typhoid fever, HIV, could also cause low white cells. In case so serious, the opinion of a hematologist to properly investigate the origin of the low white cell levels could be useful. Thanks and kind regards as I wish you the best of health. Please, do feel free asking further questions in case you got any specific concerns. Dr Bain
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