Leukopenia – Reduced WBC Count

The normal range of WBCs or white blood cells is 4,000 to 10,000 cells/mcl. Anything below 4000 cells or 4 (x 1000) is technically called as Leukopenia. This refers to a reduction in the WBCs or leukocytes count.

There are various types of white blood cells (WBCs) that normally appear in the blood: neutrophils (polymorphonuclear leukocytes; PMNs), lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils.

WBCs are responsible for fighting infections in the body. Their reduction may lead to decreased immunity and reduced capacity of body to fight infections. This usually happens when the WBC counts fall quite low. Sometimes the WBC counts may vary from normal due to lab variations. Hence it is a good idea to repeat the test after few weeks.

Causes of Reduced White Blood Cells

Some of the causes of reduced WBCs (leukopenia) are:

  • Bone marrow failure (for example, due to infection, tumor, fibrosis).
  • Presence of cytotoxic substance.
  • Collagen-vascular diseases (such as lupus erythematosus).
  • Disease of the liver or spleen.
  • Radiation.
  • Drugs such as antibiotics, anticonvulsants, antihistamine, antithyroid drugs, arsenicals, barbiturates, chemotherapeutic agents, diuretics, and sulfonamides.

Sometimes WBC counts get low due to some newly started medication such as antibiotics. In that case, the counts rapidly come to normal once the inducing medication is stopped.

Differential WBCs count should be performed as well, that is individual counts of different types of WBCs. This is done to know exactly which kind of WBC is in the low range. This aids in diagnosis. For example, person becomes more prone to infection if the neutrophils (variety of WBCs) get lower.

Medical Advice (Q&As) on “Leukopenia – Reduced White Blood Cells Count

      1. Sameera

        I was suffering from head ache, fever and sore throat and got my self tested in which my TLC count turned out to be 4300.

        1. Buddy M.D. Post author

          This is normal! Nothing to worry.

          TLC is the total WBC count in blood. It is an estimate of the number of white blood cell (WBC) circulating in blood.

          WBCs are fighter cells which increase during infective states, as in sore throat. Their increased number indicates that the body is fighting well against the infective agent.

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      It’s essential to go for DLC. If severe Leucopenia is associated with Neutropenia as well, it could indicate MDL or aplastic conditions.

  1. Swaraj

    I am suffering from fever, body pain from last 3-4 days. My TLC count has come 2800. All other like HB, DLC, platelet are in normal range. What does it indicates and how it can be cured?

  2. Vaibhav joshi

    My motger is multiple myloma patient.
    Her age is 67
    Current reports
    Wbc 600
    Hb 7.2
    Platelets 22
    And now she have fever
    We have admitted her

    1. Buddy M.D. Post author

      As you may be already knowing, this condition is a form of cancer. Treatments include chemotherapy or corticosteroids in some cases. Patients do survive with medical management for years.

      You’ll need to take care she doesn’t bleed or fractures her bones. Fractures are very common in such patients and an important cause of morbidity.

      She’s prone to catching infections and would need extreme care in this regard.


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