The signs and symptoms of leukopenia include the appearance of fever, infections that do not go away on their own, and infections that appear very frequently, states the Seattle Cancer Care Alliance. Physicians typically diagnose leukopenia in individuals with fewer than 4,000 leukocytes in one microliter of blood, although the exact number may differ between medical practices and individual patients, explains Mayo Clinic. The leukocyte cutoff in children is dependent on the child’s age and sex.
Individuals with leukopenia should minimize their exposure to possible infections, as their ability to fight infections is severely compromised, notes Mayo Clinic. Precautions include washing hands often and thoroughly, avoiding individuals with contagious conditions, and wearing a face mask. A physician may suggest additional precautions.
Leukopenia is usually caused by a specific disease or course of treatment that harms bone marrow or white blood cells, states Mayo Clinic. Broadly, the categories of causes include autoimmune disorders, congenital disorders that weaken bone marrow, viral infections, certain types of cancer, very strong infections and certain drugs. Some of the specific conditions and treatments that cause leukopenia include lupus, myelodysplastic syndromes, Kostmann’s syndrome, HIV/AIDS, aplastic anemia, chemotherapy and hypersplenism. Leukopenia may also occur due to malnutrition or a vitamin deficiency.