Leukopenia is a hematologic disorder and it features with decrease in the number of the white blood cells. White blood cells primary contribute to protection of the body against different infective agents and this is why reduction in their number typically results in different infections. Apart from infections people suffering from leukopenia are also susceptible to other medical conditions such as cancers.
Normal range of white blood cells in children is between 2000 and 4000 per cubic millimeter of blood. So, drop below this determined level results in leukopenia. If the number of white blood cells is a bit reduced there are not symptoms and signs of the disease. However, significant drop in white blood cells in children usually leads to infections and symptoms and signs of infection drive parents to hospital where leukopenia is simply identified by blood test.
Causes of Leukopenia in Children
There are numerous medical conditions which are accompanied by leukopenia.
Malaria is one of the illnesses which may contribute to drastic fall in white blood cell count. Malaria represents infectious disease caused by sporozoan parasites. The parasite is transmitted via mosquito bite. Apart from leukopenia a child suffers from fever and chills. This infection typically occurs in endemic countries and may affect children living in those countries or those who are visiting the endemic country with their families and who are not taking specific medications that prevent malaria.
Vitamin deficiency may be another cause of leukopenia in children. In these children the lack of certain vitamins is induced either by inappropriate diet or occurs due to inability of gastrointestinal tract to absorb specific vitamins.
Septicemia is rather severe and life-threatening condition. The presence of bacteria and their toxin in the blood stream affects numerous organs and organ systems and may lead to death. Apart from leukopenia children suffering from septicemia also experience fever, chills, vomiting etc.
Banti's syndrome features with chronic congestive spleen enlargement. The spleen destroys red and white blood cells and causes leukopenia.
Leukopenia is typical feature of leukemia. In leukemia leukopenia may be the culprit of infections which drive parents to pediatricians. After blood testing and a few more examinations and tests doctor set the definitive diagnosis. Aplastic anemia is one more blood disorder which apart from anemia features with drop of white blood cells. The bone marrow cannot function properly and this affects production of all three types of blood cells.
And finally, one more cause of leukopenia is systemic lupus erythematosus. This autoimmune disease may affect numerous organs and one of its characteristics may be leukopenia.