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What could cause a low white blood cell count?

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Quick Answer

Conditions or diseases that harm or damage bone marrow function or that directly destroy white blood cells are the common causes for low white blood cell count, according to Mayo Clinic. Such conditions or diseases may include blood disorders, cancer and drug abuse.

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Specific causes of diminished white blood cell count include HIV/AIDS, leukemia, lupus, aplastic anemia, radiation therapy, malnutrition, chemotherapy and vitamin deficiencies, as listed by Mayo Clinic. Congenital disorders and the intake of certain types of medications, such as diuretics and antibiotics, can also be a cause of a low count. White blood cells, also known as leukocytes, are disease-fighting cells that flow in the blood. A substantial decrease in their count can leave an individual open to many types of dangerous infections. Proper medical care should be sought immediately.

Aside from the symptoms of the underlying disease or condition, the onset of low white blood cell count is accompanied by its own set of symptoms, which include general fatigue, difficulty breathing, persistent infections that do not respond to treatment, and weakness, states Healthgrades. Other accompanying symptoms include swollen lymph nodes, recurring fevers, sore throat and lesions on the skin. Untreated, low white blood cell count can be fatal.

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