What Could It Mean If Your Lymphocyte Count Is Low?

A low lymphocyte count may mean the body is not making enough lymphocytes, according to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. A low count may also mean lymphocytes are getting destroyed or becoming stuck in the spleen or lymph nodes. A combination of these causes may also exist.

Conditions, diseases or factors leading to a low lymphocyte count may be acquired or inherited, explains the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. Acquired means a person is not born with a condition but develops it over time. Inherited means parents pass down the gene for a condition. Acquired immune deficiency syndrome, tuberculosis, viral hepatitis and typhoid fever are all infectious diseases that may be responsible. Autoimmune disorders can also lead to a low lymphocyte count. Blood diseases and blood cancer are other possible factors. Steroid therapy, chemotherapy and radiation may also be culprits.

The inherited conditions leading to a low lymphocyte count are rare, states the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. These conditions include Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome, DiGeorge anomaly, severe combined immunodeficiency syndrome and ataxia-telangiectasia. A person may also have a low lymphocyte count with no underlying cause whatsoever. If this is the case and the count is only mildly low, treatment may not be needed. Treatment for individuals with a condition resulting in the low count consists of treating the underlying condition.