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:
|Eclampsia / Preeclampsia||23%||Unlikely|
|Essential Thrombocythemia||2%||Ruled out|
|Myelodysplastic Syndrome||0%||Ruled out|
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)
Neutropenia also suggests the following possibilities:
Aplastic anemia reduces the bone marrow's ability to produce white blood cells.
Autoimmune disease can cause chronic neutropenia.
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 causes decreased production of neutrophils because they are crowded out of the bone marrow by the early forms of white blood cells.
The most common type of granulocyte (white blood cell with granules) in bone marrow is the neutrophil. In cases of Myelodysplastic Syndrome, the blood-forming cells in the bone marrow become abnormal, often leading to Neutropenia (a low number of neutrophils in the blood.)
Radiation therapy or exposure can damage the bone marrow.
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.
Polycythemia vera is a myeloproliferative disorder that causes proliferation of bone marrow cells.
Rheumatoid arthritis and other inflammatory diseases can cause neutrophilia.