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How do doctors treat low blood cell counts?

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Quick Answer

Because there are so many underlying causes for a low white blood cell (WBC) count, treatment options are dependent on the specific cause. For example, a cause for a low white blood cell count can be many different diseases that can include aplastic anemia, leukemia, cancer, autoimmune disorders, lupus and spleen disorders, reports the Mayo Clinic. These underlying causes need to be treated to correct low levels of WBC.

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Radiation treatments, chemotherapy, some medications and vitamin deficiencies can also lead to low WBC. Medications that lower the WBC count are clozapine, antibiotics, diuretics and drugs used for chemotherapy. Leukopenia is the medical term used for a low WBC count. A low WBC is below 4,500 WBC per deciliter, states the National Institute of Health.

To treat a low white blood cell count, doctors may have to address the specific cause. For example, in a case where a person is receiving radiation or chemotherapy treatments that produce this side effect, a doctor can treat low WBC by suspending chemotherapy or radiation for a week or two until the blood counts are back up to normal, states the American Cancer Society.

White blood cells are important because they help to fight infections in the body. When the immune system cannot fight infections due to low WBC, it can increase a person's risk of getting sick from viruses or bacteria.

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