Your Neutrophil Count

What Causes Abnormal Neutrophil Count?

Abnormal neutrophil count can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'minor' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose abnormal neutrophil count, we could:
  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "abnormal neutrophil count" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Chediak-Higashi Syndrome
  • Essential Thrombocythemia
  • Vitamin B12 Need
  • Radiation Poisoning
  • Fanconi Anemia
  • Myelofibrosis
  • Hemolytic Anemia
  • Polycythemia Vera

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
somewhat elevated basophil count
copper supplementation
B12 deficiency
macrocytic red cells
jaundiced skin
severe muscle weakness
major unexplained weight loss
medium-term vegan diet
occasional confusion/disorientation
chronic diarrhea
having had a small bowel resection
not supplementing B12
... and more than 20 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of abnormal neutrophil count:
Cause Probability Status
Essential Thrombocythemia 93% Confirm
Myelofibrosis 30% Unlikely
Polycythemia Vera 26% Unlikely
Chediak-Higashi Syndrome 4% Ruled out
Fanconi Anemia 4% Ruled out
Hemolytic Anemia 2% Ruled out
Vitamin B12 Need 0% Ruled out
Radiation Poisoning 0% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate having had recent lab tests, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
White Blood Cells - Neutrophil Percentage [fraction]. If you only have the absolute neutrophil count (ANC), divide white blood cell count (WBC) by ANC, and multiply by 100.
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ Under 40% [0.40] (low)
→ 40 to 70% [0.40-0.70] (normal)
→ 71 to 80% [0.71-0.80] (elevated)
→ Over 80% [0.80] (high)
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate low neutrophil count, normal neutrophil count, elevated neutrophil count or highly elevated neutrophil count, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Neutropenia

Neutropenia also suggests the following possibilities:

Aplastic Anemia

Aplastic anemia reduces the bone marrow's ability to produce white blood cells.

Autoimmune Tendency

Autoimmune disease can cause chronic neutropenia.

Chemotherapy Side-Effects

The most common reason that cancer patients experience neutropenia is as a side-effect of chemotherapy.  Chemotherapy-induced neutropenia typically occurs 3-7 days following administration of the chemotherapy drugs and continues for several days before recovering to normal levels.  Infrequently, cancer patients may also experience neutropenia from other medications or as a consequence of their underlying cancer.

Leukemia

Leukemia causes decreased production of neutrophils because they are crowded out of the bone marrow by the early forms of white blood cells.

Radiation Poisoning

Radiation therapy or exposure can damage the bone marrow.

Sepsis

Neutropenia can be caused by widespread, severe bacterial infection that causes pus formation or bacteria in the blood, which in turn leads to increased destruction of neutrophils.

Neutrophilia

Neutrophilia also suggests the following possibilities:

Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia (CML)

Chronic myelocytic leukemia is a myeloproliferative disorder that causes proliferation of bone marrow cells.

Essential Thrombocythemia

Essential thrombocythemia is a myeloproliferative disorder that causes proliferation of bone marrow cells.

Polycythemia Vera

Polycythemia vera is a myeloproliferative disorder that causes proliferation of bone marrow cells.

Rheumatoid Arthritis

Rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases can cause neutrophilia.