9 Symptoms of Neutropenia

Neutropenia is a blood disorder characterized by an unnaturally low level of neutrophils. The latter are one of the most common types of white blood cells and they play a vital role in a person’s ability to fight off infections, especially those that are bacterial in nature. Adults should have a minimum of 1500 neutrophils in each microliter of blood. Levels running lower than this may indicate the presence of neutropenia. For youngsters, the parameters for the disease vary with age.

Some individuals have lower than average neutrophil counts throughout their entire life; however, they never experience an increased risk of bacterial infections and their condition never becomes a cause for serious concern. Nevertheless, anyone with a neutrophil count of less than 500 neutrophils per microliter is usually diagnosed with neutropenia and monitored for complications. In such individuals, even normal bacteria from the digestive tract or mouth can lead to serious or even life-threatening infections.

1. Fever

Neutropenia itself is often asymptomatic, meaning it does not cause any symptoms at all. In certain instances, individuals only discover they have the disorder when they undergo diagnostic procedures–such as certain blood tests–for unrelated reasons. However, other people have many signs and symptoms. Of all symptoms of the disorder, fever is believed by many physicians to be the most common. In some cases a person may run a low-grade fever on a continuous basis, while others experience high fevers on and off over several weeks, months or years.

In most cases: however, this type of fever manifests as a temperature of approximately 101°Fahrenheit that is sustained for an hour or more. In almost all instances, it is a symptom of an infection, whether viral or bacterial, that was ultimately caused by the neutropenia.