The reason for the low level of lymphocytes in the blood may be a violation of the synthesis and maturation of this population of white blood cells in the body, or the massive destruction of mature cells caused by severe infections, cancer.
The decrease in the level of lymphocytes, caused by the pathology of blood formation, refers to the primary reasons for the decrease in the number of elements in this population.
The most frequent primary causes of low levels of lymphocytes in the blood are:
- bone marrow diseases:
- acquired - oncology, precancerous stages, bone marrow metastases, acute radiation, myeloma, aplasia,
- metabolic disorders:
- avitaminosis B12,
- starvation, lack of zinc, protein,
- immunodeficiency states:
- autoimmune processes.
In secondary lymphopenia, a decrease in lymphocytes is caused by an accelerated destruction of the population with:
- viral infections, hard and long lasting,
- pronounced edema associated with significant lymphatic fluid outflow from the general lymph bed,
- liver failure, dysfunction of the spleen - the main depot of mature lymphocytes in the body,
- pathological changes in the hormonal activity of the thyroid gland,
- taking drugs - cyclosporine, steroids,
- Hodgkin's disease, non-Hodgkin's lymphomas,
- condition arising after bone marrow transplantation, which can persist for a long time.
The absolute and relative number of lymphocytes is an indicator of the activity of the immune system. With a severe course of tumor, viral infections, the content of lymphocytes changes.
Thus, in the initial period of lymphoma the number of lymphocytes increases, but over time the immune system is depleted, which leads to a decrease in the absolute number of this population, and the appearance of lymphopenia.
If absolute (abs) lymphocytes in an adult are lowered in the blood, and this is not associated with severe viral damage, oncology, then this most likely means that the pathological process associated with the hematopoietic system is developing.
Changes in the concentration of lymphocytes in the blood from increased during the disease to a low indicates a serious state of immunodeficiency in the body. Steady lowering indicates a significant weakening of the immune system.
Damage to the lymphatic system
The reason for the decline of lymphocytes in the blood (lymphocytopenia) are diseases associated with damage to the lymphatic system. Pathologies of the immune system, in which the indicators of this leukocyte population fall, include:
The reason for the reduced results of the analysis are pathological processes in the bone marrow. Bone marrow depletion is caused by:
- acute radiation sickness
- Fanconi's anemia - manifested by the inhibition of all blood cells (pancytopenia),
- aplasia - stops the growth and maturation of leukocytes, erythrocytes, platelets.
The cause of lowered lymphocytes can be increased migration of these cells to the foci of inflammation, edema. There are reduced and make up the value, less than the norm, absolute (abs) lymphocytes in adults, which is sometimes caused by taking cytostatics, nicotinic acid, hormonal drugs, and this shows how dangerous it is to be treated without going to the doctor, without testing.
A decrease in lymphocyte cell indices has been observed in the treatment with immunosuppressants, antitumor agents, chemotherapy, and radiotherapy.
In children, congenital and acquired disorders of the thymus gland (thymus gland) can cause a decrease in lymphocytes.With the acquired lowering of the function of the thymus, insufficient secretion of the hormones necessary for the maturation of lymphocytes is noted.
Such a lack of hormones causes a shortage of lymphocytic cells, which is why an increased tendency to allergies, helminthic invasions, and respiratory infections is noted.
The decrease in indicators may be caused by congenital pathologies of the thymus, in which the absolute values of this population of leukocytes are lowered and the proportion between the B and T subpopulations is disturbed.
Congenital immunodeficiency disorders include:
- severe combined immunodeficiency (TKI),
- Syndromes Di Georgie, Blum, Wiskott-Aldrich, Louis Bar.
The absolute values of lymphocytic cells in children with Di Georgie syndrome are only slightly underestimated. However, in this congenital disease, the ratio of T - and B-lymphocytes in the blood is disturbed - there are few T-lymphocytes, and the number of B-cell subpopulations is close to normal.
The state of a weakened immunity is caused by the intrauterine hypoplasia of the thymus gland. Besides the fact that the child has lowered lymphocytes, the patient with Di Georgy syndrome has heart defects, defects in the development of the face, the sky, a tendency to severe bacterial diseases.
Low rates since birth are marked with severe combined immunodeficiency. TKI is a severe violation of immunity, and without medical intervention, children die before they reach 2 years of age.
Babies are born with normal development, but with reduced or even lack of immunity. As the presence of immune cells and immunoglobulins derived from the mother is reduced, the child’s own immune deficiency symptoms begin to show.
In such children, the lymphocytes and B-subpopulations are lower than normal, and T-subpopulations - this means that humoral and cellular immunity is lowered, and the baby is defenseless against infections and oncological diseases.
The deficiency of all lymphocytic cell subpopulations is observed in Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome. Reduced lymphocytes in this disorder are combined with reduced platelets, red blood cells, hemoglobin.
Congenital immunodeficiency caused by lowered lymphocytes leads to frequent infectious diseases in children, the development of autoimmune diseases at a younger age, leukemia, and the formation of lymphoma.
Human immunodeficiency virus infects the immune system, provoking acquired immunodeficiency syndrome. The disease affects both adults and children, and not only lymphocytes, but also other formed elements of the blood are reduced in the analysis, which means that pancytopenia develops - a phenomenon in which hematopoiesis is suppressed.
The lymphocyte cell test serves as a diagnostic criterion by which the stage of the disease is determined. The main symptom that in adults tells about the diagnosis of AIDS is the level of T-helper lymphocytes, less than 200 cells / ml, and also that the relative values of T-helpers are reduced to the absolute (total) number of lymphocytes.
Decrease in lymphocytes in adults
Low lymphocytes can cause physical exertion, smoking. In adults, lymphocytes may be lowered due to the acute stage of pulmonary tuberculosis, or in the case of a particularly severe form of the disease.
Decreased rates are observed with miliary tuberculosis. At the last stage of miliary tuberculosis, the decline in the number of this population reaches 2%.
This form of the disease has a special course, manifested by multiple foci scattered in the body. Tuberculous foci with a diameter of 1-2 mm are found in the liver, lungs, intestines, spleen.
In adulthood, miliary tuberculosis is provoked by the presence of a chronic focus of infection in the bones, lymph nodes, kidneys, and genitals.In children, the disease develops in cases where no immunization against tuberculosis has been performed.
In women during pregnancy, lowered lymphocytes in the blood are the norm, but this does not mean at all that a disease or a life-threatening condition develops.
Decreased lymphocytes during pregnancy serve as a way to protect the fetus from aggression from the immune system of the maternal organism.
Do not worry that a woman’s immunity is weak. The protective properties of the immune system during pregnancy are compensated by increasing the activity of other leukocyte populations and humoral immunity factors.
The rate of lymphocytes in the blood. What level is lowered?
Below are the standard absolute and relative rates of lymphocytes in the blood. If tests show lower values, this condition is called lymphopenia and requires at least additional diagnostics, and in most cases, the appointment of a specific therapy.
How are lymphocytes formed?
The main organs that form lymphocytes are the thymus (before maturity) and the bone marrow. In them, cells divide and are located before meeting with an alien agent (virus, bacterium, etc.). There are also secondary lymphoid organs: lymph nodes, spleen and formations in the digestive tract. This is where most lymphocytes migrate. The spleen is also the depot and the place of their death.
There are several types of lymphocytes: T, B, and NK cells. But they are all formed from a single predecessor: the stem cell. It undergoes changes, eventually differentiating into the desired type of lymphocytes.
What are lymphocytes, their functions
Lymphocytes are small blood cells that belong to a group of white blood cells and perform very important functions in the human body.
Lymphocytes are called blood cells, which are leukocytes. Their content in this group is about 20-40 percent. The nucleus of these cells occupies a large part, and the cytoplasm has no granularity. Lymphocytes are produced by the spleen, tonsils, bone marrow, thymus, lymph nodes.
The main function of lymphocytes is considered to be stimulation of the immune system. These blood cells have the ability to produce antibodies against antigens.
Depending on the functions of the lymphocytes belong to these types:
- T lymphocytes. Their role is the regulation of the immune response. These cells activate the production of antibodies, contribute to the destruction of cells that are infected with pathogenic microorganisms.
- B lymphocytes. They activate humoral immunity, counteract various kinds of bacteria and viruses. They also have the ability to direct basophils and neutrophils to cells that need to be neutralized.
- NK lymphocytes. They are real killers, because their function is to destroy cells that have abnormalities in their structure, for example, during the tumor process.
Thus, lymphocytes help the body to cope with various inflammatory-infectious diseases.
Diagnosis and rate
To diagnose the level of lymphocytes in the blood you need to donate blood from your finger in the morning on an empty stomach.
Since lymphocytes have an important function in the body, their rate of diagnosis is important. Their level is determined using a general blood test.
For the diagnosis does not require special training. But desirable:
- To donate blood in the morning on an empty stomach, so that the interval between analysis and food intake is at least two hours.
- It is also recommended that the patient inform the specialist about the use of drugs that he took a few days before the study.
- For greater reliability of results before diagnostics, it is better not to perform increased physical exertion, as well as take alcohol or smoke.
The rate of lymphocytes in the blood differs according to age.To the attention are taken two values of the indicator - relative and absolute.
The relative value is measured in percent, and the absolute - in the number of cells in the field of view, multiplied by ten to the ninth power of units per liter of blood.
Therefore, the following are considered normal indicators:
- The rate in adults with an absolute value - from 1 to 4.5, the ratio - from 20 to 34%
- Up to twenty one years - from 1 to 4.8 (absolute), from 30 to 45%
- Up to ten years - from 1.5 to 6.5, from 30 to 50%
- Up to six years old - from 1.5 to 7, from 35 to 55%
- Until the age of four - from 2 to 84, from 45 to 65%
- From birth to one year - from 4 to 10.5, from 55 to 75%
It is important to say that in pregnant women the level of lymphocytes is usually lowered, but this condition does not need specific treatment. However, pregnant women must comply with all prescriptions of a leading specialist.
Having carefully studied these norms, it can be concluded that the highest content of lymphocytes in the blood is observed in children under one year of age. As they mature, the normal level of cells is reduced to a lower content.
Causes of Low Lymphocyte Levels
A low level of lymphocytes in the blood indicates the presence of an infection or a dangerous disease in the body.
The content of lymphocytes below the norm is called lymphopenia. The causes of this condition are divided into two groups. With one, the functions of the cells are disturbed, but their production is preserved, while the other fails in the formation and development of lymphocytes, which are restored with time.
The first group of causes include infectious and respiratory diseases, as well as diseases lasting a long time, with inflammatory processes.
You should also determine that the pathological conditions that affect the reduction of lymphocytes in the blood, are divided into acquired, as well as diseases of innate nature.
Acquired lymphopenia occurs in the following diseases:
- Respiratory tuberculosis
- lupus erythematosus
- Rheumatoid arthritis
- Hodgkin's lymphoma
- Itsenko-Cushing syndrome
- Renal failure
- Blood cancer
- Infectious mononucleosis
Also, the ability to destroy lymphocytes has radiation therapy and chemotherapy, the use of certain drugs.
More information about lymphocytes can be found in the video:
Among congenital pathologies can be noted such:
- Louis-Bar syndrome
- Primary immunodeficiency
- Tumor process of the thymus gland
- A high percentage of destruction of T-lymphocytes
- Reduced cells in the blood due to pathological conditions of the spleen
In addition, lymphocytes may decrease as a result of such factors:
- Long menstruation
- Excessive Exercise
- Mental fatigue
- Stressful situations
- Work in hazardous industries
It is important to note that pregnancy is another reason for the low content of cells in the blood. However, with all compliance with the recommendations of a specialist, it is not dangerous and is considered a normal indicator.
Symptoms of pathology
Usually lymphopenia is asymptomatic, that is, without pronounced signs. However, among the possible symptoms of low lymphocyte levels, the following signs should be highlighted:
- Pale skin or yellowness.
- Reduction of lymph nodes and tonsils.
- Hair loss.
- The occurrence of eczema and skin rash.
- Enlarged spleen.
- General weakness.
- Purulent lesion of the skin.
- Frequent tiredness.
- Often, a symptom of low lymphocyte counts is an increase in body temperature.
If these symptoms occur, it is advisable to take an analysis to check if they accompany lymphopenia, which may indicate various infectious and inflammatory processes in the human body.
Complications and low lymphocyte prognosis depend mainly on the diagnosis and the course of the disease.
Among the frequent complications should be highlighted:
- Renal and hepatic failure.
- Exacerbation of diseases.
- Decreased immune system.
- In the case of the development of tumor processes may develop into cancer cells, as well as the development of metastases.
To prevent these serious consequences, it is important, when detecting a low content of these blood cells, to start the treatment of the underlying disease in time. Timely treatment will reduce the risk of possible complications by several times.
Prescribe drugs can only be a doctor, given the diagnosis and the individual characteristics of the body.
It is important to know that the treatment of low lymphocyte counts is aimed at eliminating the underlying cause that provoked a decrease in cells in the blood.
Therefore, after deciphering the analysis, the specialist may prescribe additional diagnostic methods to detect the disease (X-ray, ultrasound, computed or magnetic resonance imaging).
Usually the following groups of drugs are used in therapy:
- Vitamin and mineral complexes
In some diseases with low lymphocyte counts, the methods are more radical:
- Operative intervention
- Cell transplantation
- Radiation therapy
To quickly normalize the level of cells, immunoglobulins are often prescribed for injection into a vein. In addition, at low rates, it is recommended to eat foods that are red, for example, pomegranates, beets, apples. Dried fruits and nuts can enlarge lymphocytes a little. It is also recommended to drink every day for a glass of natural red wine.
Among the means of alternative medicine - the use of decoctions of barley and chicory. It is also desirable to help the immune system, using tinctures from the pink radioli and Eleutherococcus. During treatment, sports and daily gymnastics, walks in the fresh air, rest and avoidance of stressful situations are recommended.
The role of lymphocytes in the body
Scientists have identified several types of lymphocytes. Each of them differs in the way of influence on pathogenic microorganisms.
- T lymphocytes. This group is the most numerous. It is divided into 3 subspecies. Each of them plays a role. T-killers kill infectious agents, as well as altered (tumor cells). T-helpers improve immunity, and T-suppressors suppress the immune response.
- B lymphocytes. Their number is 10-15% of the total concentration. B-lymphocyte functions are among the most important. They consist in confronting viruses, bacteria and the development of cellular immunity. It is these substances that make vaccination effective.
- NK lymphocytes. This prefix is translated from English as "natural killer." The share of these leukocytes is estimated at 5-10% of the total mass. The main function of agents is to kill the elements of their own organism if they have been infected.
Lymphocytes are produced in the bone marrow. From the blood, most lymphocytes pass into the thymus gland (thymus gland), where they are converted into T lymphocytes, which protect the human body from foreign agents. The rest become B-lymphocytes, which complete their formation in the lymphoid tissues of the spleen, tonsils and lymph nodes.
B lymphocytes synthesize antibodies upon contact with infectious agents. There is a third type of lymphocytes. These are so-called natural killers. They also protect the body against cancer cells and viruses.
The rate of lymphocytes: 1.2 - 3.0 thousand / ml, 25-40%.The condition in which there is an increase in the number of lymphocytes is referred to as lymphocytosis, with a decrease - lymphopenia.
Quantitative changes can have both an absolute character (a change in the number per unit volume of blood), and a relative character — a change in the percentage ratio to other forms of white blood cells.
Terms of analysis
The number of lymphocytes is determined using a clinical blood test. For the results to be reliable, it is important to observe the following rules:
- Women should be tested 4–5 days after the end of their period,
- 2 days before delivery limit the intake of salty, fatty dishes, exclude alcoholic beverages,
- For the day, avoid physical and emotional overstrain,
- A blood test is passed on an empty stomach,
- The fence is carried out until 12 o'clock in the afternoon,
- At least 60 minutes before the test, you can not smoke
- On the day of blood sampling, refuse to take medicines
- Immediately before blood collection, you need to sit in a calm atmosphere for 10 minutes.
Causes of lowered lymphocytes in adults
Why did a blood test reveal diminished lymphocytes, and what does that mean? In adults, the level of lymphocytes in the blood is 20-40% of all existing leukocytes, but under certain conditions of the body, the standard figure may change significantly. Many reasons provoke a decrease in these cells due to which it is not always easy to make a diagnosis.
Pathological conditions due to which lymphocytes can be reduced in adults include:
- chronic hepatological lesions,
- aplastic anemia,
- substage protivoshok,
- septic, purulent pathologies,
- miliary tuberculosis,
- severe infectious lesions
- radiation and chemotherapy,
- lymphocyte destruction,
- hereditary immune pathologies,
- renal failure
- lupus erythematosus (disseminated),
- Hodgkin's disease,
- Itsenko-Cushing syndrome
- corticosteroid intoxication,
- acute infectious and purulent-inflammatory diseases: influenza, tonsillitis, pneumonia and abscesses.
Diseases accompanied by lymphopenia, in most cases are very dangerous and have an unfavorable prognosis. Therefore, if a person is diagnosed with low lymphocytes for a long time, this is a signal to conduct an immediate and thorough medical examination.
By itself, lymphopenia is not subject to adjustment, it is necessary to treat the primary disease. In chronic lymphocytopenia, immunoglobulin injections are sometimes prescribed. If lowered lymphocytes are a consequence of congenital immunodeficiency, stem cells are transplanted.
What are lymphocytes?
Lymphocytes are a specific category of blood cells. It is very important for the functioning of the human immune system.
All white blood cells that perform an immune function are called leukocytes. They are divided into several categories:
Each of these groups performs strictly defined tasks. If we compare the immune forces of the body with the army, then eosinophils, basophils and monocytes are special branches of the armed forces and heavy artillery, neutrophils are soldiers, and lymphocytes are officers and guards. In relation to the total number of leukocytes, the number of cells of this type in adults is on average 30%. Unlike most other white blood cells, which, when confronted with an infectious agent, usually die, lymphocytes can act many times. Thus, they provide long-lasting immunity, and the rest leukocytes - short-term.
Lymphocytes along with monocytes belong to the category of agranulocytes - cells that lack granular inclusions in the internal structure. They may exist longer than other blood cells - sometimes up to several years. Their destruction is usually carried out in the spleen.
What are lymphocytes responsible for? They perform a variety of functions, depending on the specialization. They are responsible both for the humoral immunity associated with the production of antibodies, and for the cellular immunity associated with interaction with target cells. Lymphocytes are divided into three main categories - T, B and NK.
They make up about 75% of all cells of this type. Their embryos form in the bone marrow, and then migrate to the thymus gland (thymus gland), where they turn into lymphocytes. Actually, this is also indicated by their name (T stands for thymus). Their greatest number is observed in children.
In the thymus, T-cells “undergo training” and receive various “specialties”, turning into lymphocytes of the following types:
- T-cell receptors,
T-cell receptors are involved in the recognition of protein antigens. T-helper cells are “officers”. They coordinate immune forces by activating other types of immune cells. T-killers are engaged in "anti-sabotage activity", destroying cells affected by intracellular parasites - viruses and bacteria, and some tumor cells. T-suppressors are a relatively small group of cells that perform an inhibitory function, limiting the immune response.
Among other lymphocytes, their proportion is about 15%. Formed in the spleen and bone marrow, then migrate to the lymph nodes and concentrate in them. Their main function is to provide humoral immunity. In lymph nodes, B-type cells “become familiar” with antigens “represented” by other cells of the immune system. After that, they begin the process of the formation of antibodies that react aggressively to the invasion of foreign substances or microorganisms. Some B cells have a “memory” for foreign objects and can maintain it for many years. Thus, they ensure the readiness of the organism to meet fully the “enemy” in the event of its repeated appearance.
The proportion of NK cells among other lymphocytes is about 10%. This variety performs functions in much the same way as T-killer functions. However, their capabilities are much wider than the latter. The name of the group comes from the phrase Natural Killers. This is a real "anti-terrorism special forces" of immunity. Appointment of cells - the destruction of the degenerated cells of the body, primarily tumor, as well as infected with viruses. At the same time, they are able to destroy cells inaccessible to T-killers. Each NK cell is “armed” with special toxins, deadly for target cells.
Why are lymphocytes needed?
- B-lymphocytes, when in contact with foreign proteins, secrete protective immunoglobulins. They provide long-lasting and often lifelong immunity to diseases, including after vaccination.
- T-lymphocytes destroy intracellular parasites, virus-infected cells, and are also responsible for the intensity of the immune response.
- NK lymphocytes infect cancer cells.
What is dangerous lymphopenia
Low lymphocytes talk about the development of pathologiesaffecting the production of white blood cells in the background of a weakened immune system. This condition, called lymphopenia, is an alarming sign that requires urgent medical intervention. There are the following types of it:
- Iatrogenic, which occurs when externally and suppress the formation of lym, for example, after chemotherapy sessions.
- Acquired, in which problems with the formation and "maturation" of structural elements are absent, but there is an accelerated process of their decay.
- Hereditary, when stem cells (progenitors) can not mature and give a new generation of full-fledged lymphocytes.
Examples of congenital lymphopenia:
- Viskott-Aldrich disease, which is characterized by an insufficient number of platelets, as well as skin eczema.
- DiGeorge syndrome, as an example of primary immunodeficiency, in which the thymus is pathologically small or absent.
- Nezelof's disease with an underdevelopment of the thymus gland, which leads to damage to the differentiation of T cells. Under the onslaught of disease-causing fungi and bacteria, various organ systems and the gastrointestinal tract are affected.
- Louis-Bar syndrome and its characteristic acute shortage of T-lymphocytes. Immunodeficiency leads to frequent respiratory diseases, pathologies of the skin and cerebellum. Death occurs due to complications that have developed after infections and cancerous tumors.
Antibiotics, immunoglobulins, thymus preparations improve the patient's condition. In all other cases, in case of congenital lymphopenia, the red bone marrow and thymus gland are transplanted. The goal of the doctor is to prolong the life of the patient, supporting his immunity. We are not talking about full recovery, since this is impossible in principle.
All of these cases are examples of absolute lymphopenia with rates below 1-3 thousand / mcl. An important point is the performance of diagnostic tests and analysis of subpopulations of white blood cells. Therefore, there is another mechanism leading to the deviations in question. This is when the number of lym is within the normal range, but the level of, for example, neutrophils rises and the content of lymphocytes (in%) is relatively low.
Causes of low levels in adults
Lymphopenia in adulthood develops in the following diseases:
- Pancreatic dysfunction.
- Malignant neoplasms.
- Intoxication, contact with poisons at work, which have a mutagenic effect on the red bone marrow where lymphocytes are formed.
- Tuberculosis, flu.
- Pathology of the kidneys and liver.
- Congenital defects of the immune system.
Such a deviation develops in adults who abuse fatty foods and alcohol. The state of their liver in the object of attention of the doctor. Chronic lymphopenia is associated with the following pathologies:
- Inflammation of the oral mucosa.
Lymphopenia does not always accompany terrible diseases. It is often associated with the activation of the immune system, but in any case should be a signal for additional examination. An important point is the evaluation by doctors and other blood parameters. The true cause of lymphopenia is established only as a result of a cumulative analysis. Adequate treatment, as a rule, eliminates the source of the disease, and the state of the immune system and blood formula soon return to normal.
Decreased lymphocytes in a child
Lymphopenia is detected in children in the following cases:
- Acute and chronic infections at the initial stage.
- Lack of zinc, selenium.
- Unbalanced nutrition with protein deficiency.
- Acceptance of hormonal anticancer drugs, anti-lymphocytic immunoglobulins.
- Cuts, burns.
- Autoimmune diseases.
The spleen is a "cemetery" of lymphocytes. The increase in its activity leads to the utilization of all cells and even those that could be useful to the body. Injuries, taking glucocorticoids, chemotherapy sessions also lead to a decrease in the number of lymphocytes in the blood. In this case, children:
- Eczema, pyoderma, alopecia, erosion on the oral mucosa develop.
- Lymph node volume decreases.
- Observed pallor or yellowness of the skin.
- Concerned about frequent infections (rubella, chickenpox).
Lymphopenia in children is not characterized by specific symptoms, but requires attention if the following symptoms are present:
- Hair loss.
- Frequent colds.
- Pyo-inflammatory processes in the acute phase of development.
With osteomyelitis, phlegmon, abscesses, pneumonia, the number of neutrophils increases, leading to relative lymphopenia. There are no preventive measures against lowered immune cells.The duty of adults at least once a year to examine the blood of a child in order to respond promptly to changes in its composition.
Which doctor to contact
Lymphopenia is not an independent disease, therefore it cannot cope with magic pills and folk remedies. The cause may be congenital or acquired. Her searches are engaged in physicians. The doctor prescribes treatment based on the characteristics of each patient.
If there are few lymphocytes in the blood, adults can consult a therapist, children, respectively, a pediatrician.
Treatment of low lymphocyte levels
After evaluating the results of the blood test, examination of the patient, additional examination, the doctor makes a diagnosis and prescribes therapy that can eliminate the source of lymphopenia and normalize the immune system. In the case of an acquired form, getting rid of a provoking factor improves the composition of the blood and body functions.
In a chronic condition, the doctor prescribes immunoglobulin therapy to prevent recurrent infections. Immunoglobulins G are used to normalize the level of lymphocytes. The treatment is stopped if there is a strong allergy to the drug and the development of conditions that threaten the patient’s life. The innate nature of lymphopenia requires stem cell transplantation. In children, lowered lymphocytes in the blood are often associated with infectious diseases. This state passes after the removal of their provocateurs.
Tinctures of medicinal plants will help to adjust the composition of blood, in which the level of lym is below normal, but only as an addition to the main therapy. In the case of lymphoma, you should not rely on them, so as not to waste time. Before taking folk remedies, you will need to consult a doctor to avoid the side effects that some components of natural medicines have.
Without treatment, the effects of lymphopenia are most disappointing, since they are associated with a weakening of the protective properties of the body. Against this background, overcome opportunistic infections, autoimmune diseases, malignant neoplasms.
Prevention of congenital form is impossible in principle. When purchased species will help the following recommendations:
- Give up alcohol.
- Use healthy foods with a minimum of fat, but high in protein (lean fish and meat). In the diet include more vegetables and fruits. From the drinks recommended simple water, as well as green tea.
- Time to treat infectious diseases.
- Lead a healthy lifestyle, preferably without stress.
- Observe the regime of work and rest.
And also to monitor the level of physical activity, sufficient for a specific age and health.
The absolute value of the lymphocyte level is from one to 4.5 X 10⁹ units / liter.
The relative value of the lymphocyte level is from twenty to 34 percent.
In children, there are much more lymphocytes in the blood than in an adult, and specific norms depend on the age of the child:
Age is the relative / absolute value of the lymphocyte level:
- Children up to a year - from 55 to 75 percent / 4–10.5 X 10⁹ units / l.
- Children up to four years old - from 45 to 65 percent / 2–8 X 10⁹ units / l.
- Children under six years old - from 35 to 55 percent / 1.5–7 X 10⁹ units / l.
- Teens under ten years old - from 30 to 50 percent / 1.5–6.5 X 10⁹ units / l.
- Young people up to the 21st year - from 30 to 45 percent / 1–4.8 X 10⁹ units / l.
Based on the data presented above, the normal level of lymphocytes in the blood decreases with age - their greatest concentration is in children up to 12 months.
What does it mean?
Low lymphocyte count indicates that the patient has developed lymphopenia. This condition is usually associated with the migration of the above-described cellular structures from the lymphatic localized fluid into the tissue - thus, the analysis reveals the lack of the latter in the blood.
The above condition cannot be considered a disease - it is a symptom due to a number of reasons, among which there may be both physiological and pathogenic factors, most often infectious-toxic rapid processes.
This diagnosis is made after the primary and repeated blood tests and determine the exact immune status of the patient. Symptomatology of lymphopenia is often very weak or absent. Constant changes in the size of the tonsils and lymph nodes, the appearance of such associated diseases as eczema, pyoderma, alopecia, and frequent repeated infectious lesions over a short period of time may indicate a problem.
Treatment. What if lymphocytes are lowered?
There is no specific treatment for this condition, since a symptom can be caused by a number of severe pathologies, as well as individual physical features. When detecting and confirming laboratory results of low levels of lymphocytes in the blood, as well as the lack of clear symptoms of its formation, the hematologist sends the patient for additional diagnostics - ultrasound, MRI / CT, radiography, histology, cytology, and so on.
For adults and children, the course of therapy is prescribed solely on the basis of the identified diagnosis, taking into account the individual characteristics of the patient and his age. The list of standard types of treatment includes taking antibiotics, glucocorticosteroids, vitamin complexes, anti-allergies, antipyretic, antiviral and anti-inflammatory drugs. In severe cases, chemotherapy and radiation therapy, stem cell transplantation, and other surgical interventions are prescribed. For rapid normalization of lymphocyte levels, intravenous administration of immunoglobulin G class is prescribed.
In an adult, lymphocytes are lowered in the blood. Which doctor to contact?
Lowering the level of lymphocytes can cause a variety of reasons, both physiological and pathogenic in nature. If external manifestations of a particular disease are absent, and repeated blood collection and its analysis show an identical value below the norm, then you should contact a hematologist, a specialist in etiology, diagnosis, treatment, prevention of diseases directly or indirectly associated with the blood system.
Segmented lymphocytes are greatly reduced. What to do?
Segmented lymphocytes cannot be lowered in you, since such cellular elements do not exist in nature.
Most likely, we are talking about segmented neutrophils - a mature subspecies of granulocyte leukocytes present in the peripheral blood and, accordingly, the basic leukocyte formula, induced in the red bone marrow and migrating into the blood after reaching the stab state. They are responsible for protecting the body against the entry of bacterial and fungal infections by non-disease. The decrease from the level is called neutropenia and occurs against the background of the development of chronic forms of bacterial and acute forms of viral / fungal infections, radiation therapy, aplastic anemia, and severe post-infectious conditions.
I can recommend contacting a hematologist for a comprehensive diagnosis and the appointment of appropriate therapy.
What does a reduced level of lymphocytes in the blood during pregnancy?
During pregnancy at certain stages of its low level of lymphocytes is the norm. The mechanism of this process is associated with the physiological features of the mechanism of immunity. It is well known that the above-mentioned cellular elements are divided into several types - functional B and T components are aimed at finding and destroying foreign antigens, including the basis of the father’s biological material.With the beginning of conception and hormonal restructuring, the body of the fair sex produces T-suppressors in large numbers, which suppress the work of the T / T components of the immune system, which allows the embryo to develop unhindered, while protection of infections and other diseases is formed by increasing the concentration of phagocytes and neutrophils.
The overall relative and absolute level of lymphocytes begins to decrease from the fourth to fifth week of pregnancy and begins to increase gradually at the end of the second trimester. Accordingly, a reduced concentration of the described cellular elements is the norm from the beginning of the second month after conception up to the 26th week.
How to determine the number of lymphocytes?
The number of lymphocytes is reflected in the total blood count. Previously, all cell counts were done manually using a microscope. Now more often use automatic analyzers that determine the number of all blood cells, their shape, degree of maturity and other parameters. The norms of these indicators for manual and automatic determination are different. Therefore, there is still often confusion if the results of the analyzer are close to the manual norms.
In addition, the forms sometimes do not indicate the rate of lymphocytes in the blood of a child. Therefore, it is necessary to clarify the standards for each age group.
The norms of lymphocytes in the blood
- Newborns: 15-35%
- Children under 1 year: 45-70%
- Older children: 30-50%
- Adults: 30–40%
- Adults: 0.8-4 * 10 9 cells / liter (the rate of lymphocytes in the blood of women and men is the same)
- Newborns and babies: 0.8-9 * 10 9 cells / liter
- Older children: 0.8-8 * 10 9 cells / liter
What do elevated lymphocytes in the blood mean?
Lymphocytosis is an increase in the number of lymphocytes. It can be relative and absolute.
- Absolute lymphocytosis is a condition in which the number of lymphocytes exceeds the age norm. That is, in adults - more than 4 * 10 9 cells per liter.
- Relative lymphocytosis is a change in the percentage of white cells in favor of lymphocytes. This happens with a decrease in the total number of leukocytes due to the neutrophil group. As a result, the percentage of lymphocytes becomes larger, although their absolute value remains normal. A similar picture of blood is considered not as lymphocytosis, but as leukopenia with neutropenia.
It is important to remember that if neutrophils are lowered and lymphocytes are raised only as a percentage, this may not reflect the true picture. Therefore, most often in the analysis of blood are oriented precisely on the absolute number of lymphocytes (in cells per liter).
Causes of elevated lymphocytes in the blood
- Stress and hormonal fluctuations
- Long smoking
- Viral (respiratory viruses, infectious mononucleosis, chicken pox, measles)
- Bacterial (tuberculosis, syphilis, whooping cough, cat scratch disease)
- Parasitic (toxoplasmosis)
- Blood tumors
- Chronic lymphocytic leukemia
- Acute lymphoblastic leukemia
- Autoimmune processes (thyrotoxicosis)
- Lead poisoning, arsenic, carbon disulfide
- Taking certain drugs (levodopa, phenytoin, valproic acid, narcotic and non-narcotic analgesics)
Stress and hormonal fluctuations
Changing the ratio of neutrophils / lymphocytes can occur in stressful situations. Including at the entrance to the doctor's office. Excessive physical activity has the same effect. In such cases, lymphocytosis is insignificant (no more than 5 * 10 9 cells per liter) and is temporary. Elevated lymphocytes in the blood of women are in the period of menstruation.
A complete blood test of a smoker with experience may differ significantly from the results of a person without bad habits. In addition to the general thickening of the blood and increasing the number of red blood cells, there is always an increase in the level of lymphocytes.
The entry of an infectious agent into the body leads to the activation of all protective forces.With bacterial infections produced a large number of neutrophils, destroying microbes. And with the penetration of viruses in the case lymphocytes enter. They mark cells infected with viral particles, produce antibodies on them and then destroy them.
Therefore, in almost any viral infection, relative lymphocytosis occurs, and often absolute. This indicates the beginning of the formation of immunity to illness. Elevated levels of lymphocytes persist during the entire recovery period and sometimes a little longer. Blood tests with infectious mononucleosis are particularly strongly affected. Some chronic bacterial infections also cause the growth of lymphocytes (tuberculosis and syphilis, for example).
This is an infection caused by the Epstein-Barr virus. This virus sooner or later affects almost all people. But only in some, it leads to symptoms, combined by the term "infectious mononucleosis." The virus is transmitted with saliva during close household contacts, as well as during a kiss. The latent period of the disease can last more than a month. The main target of viral particles is lymphocytes. Symptoms of the disease:
- temperature rise
- sore throat
- swollen lymph nodes
- night sweats
The disease is more easily tolerated by young children. Adolescents and adults may feel signs of infection much stronger. For the diagnosis of mononucleosis is usually enough complaints, inspection and test analysis: the lymphocytes in the child's blood are elevated, there are abnormal mononuclear cells. Sometimes they use an immunoglobulin test. Treatment of viral infection is usually symptomatic. Rest is required, the use of a sufficient amount of liquid, with fever - antipyretic drugs (paracetamol, ibuprofen). In addition, at the time of illness is better to exclude sports. Mononucleosis causes an enlarged spleen in which blood cells are disposed of. Such an increase in combination with trauma can lead to rupture of the body, bleeding and even death.
This is a serious respiratory tract infection. They are most often affected by children, although a large vaccination coverage in recent years has dramatically reduced the incidence of infection.
Whooping cough begins as a typical cold, but after 1-2 weeks an paroxysmal cough occurs. Each attack can end with severe vomiting. After 3-4 weeks cough becomes calmer, but persists for a long time. Previously, whooping cough was a frequent cause of death and disability of children. But now the kids have the risk of cerebral hemorrhage and convulsive syndrome during an attack.
The diagnosis is made on the basis of symptoms, PCR results and enzyme immunoassay. At the same time, in general, a blood test almost always causes significant leukocytosis (15-50 * 10 9), mainly due to an increase in the number of lymphocytes.
Antibiotics are used to treat pertussis. However, they rarely reduce the duration of the disease, but can reduce the incidence of complications. The main protection against this serious illness is the vaccination of DPT, Pentaxim or Infanrix.
Acute lymphoblastic leukemia (ALL)
A blood tumor disease in which immature lymphoblasts that have lost their ability to turn into lymphocytes are formed in the bone marrow is called ALL. Such mutated cells cannot protect the body from infections. They divide uncontrollably and inhibit the growth of all other blood cells.
OLL is the most common type of blood tumor in children (85% of all childhood hemoblastosis). In adults, it is less common. Risk factors for disease are genetic abnormalities (Down syndrome, for example), radiation therapy, and intense ionizing radiation. There is information about the effect of pesticides in the first three years of a child’s life on the risk of developing ALL.
- Symptoms of anemia: pallor, weakness, shortness of breath
- Symptoms of thrombocytopenia: unreasonable bruises and nosebleeds
- Symptoms of neutropenia: fever, frequent severe infectious diseases, sepsis
- Swollen lymph nodes and spleen
- Bone pain
- Neoplasms in the testes, ovaries, mediastinal area (thymus)
A complete blood count is needed to diagnose acute lymphoblastic leukemia. It is most often reduced platelet count and red blood cells. The number of leukocytes can be normal, low or high. At the same time, the level of neutrophils is reduced, and that of lymphocytes is relatively elevated, there are often lymphoblasts. If any tumor is suspected, a bone marrow puncture is performed, with the help of which a final diagnosis is made. The criterion of the tumor will be a large number of blasts in the bone marrow (more than 20%). Additionally carry out cytochemical and immunological studies.
The main principles of treatment of blood tumors is the introduction of remission, its fixation and supportive therapy. This is achieved using cytotoxic drugs. Chemotherapy is difficult for many to tolerate, but only it gives a chance for recovery. If nevertheless a return of the disease (relapse) has occurred, then more aggressive cytostatic therapy schemes are used or the bone marrow is transplanted. Bone marrow transplantation is performed from a relative (if appropriate) or from another suitable donor.
Forecast for ALL
Achievements of hematology allow to cure a large number of patients with acute lymphoblastic leukemia. The factors of a positive prognosis include young age, the number of leukocytes less than 30,000, the absence of genetic damage and the introduction into remission after 4 weeks of treatment. In this situation, more than 75% of patients survive. Each recurrence of the disease reduces the chances of complete recovery. If there has been no recurrence for 5 years or more, the disease is defeated.
Chronic lymphocytic leukemia (CLL)
A blood tumor in which the level of mature lymphocytes rises in the bone marrow is called CLL. Although tumor cells differentiate to their final forms, they are not able to function as lymphocytes. If ALL often affects children and young people, CLL usually occurs after 60 years and is not such a rare cause of elevated lymphocytes in the blood of an adult. This type of leukemia is the only one with no risk factors identified.
- Lymph node enlargement (painless, mobile, dense)
- Weakness, pallor
- Frequent infections
- Increased bleeding
- Deterioration: fever, night sweats, weight loss, enlarged liver and spleen
Quite often, CLL is a random finding in a routine blood test, since for a long time the disease is asymptomatic. Suspicious results are those in which the number of leukocytes exceeds 20 * 10 9 / l in adults, and the number of platelets and red blood cells is sharply reduced.
A feature of the treatment of CLL is its resistance to chemotherapy. Therefore, therapy is often postponed until the onset of overt symptoms. In this state, a person can live without treatment for several years. When the condition worsens (or the leukocytes double in half a year), cytostatics may slightly increase life expectancy, but more often they do not affect it.
One of the important functions of lymphocytes is the formation of delayed-type allergic reactions. That is why the increase of such cells can talk about an autoimmune process. A striking example is diffuse toxic goiter (Graves-Basedow disease). For unknown reasons, the body begins to attack its own receptor cells, with the result that the thyroid gland is in constant activity. Such patients are fussy, restless, difficult to concentrate. Often there are complaints of interruptions in the work of the heart, shortness of breath, fever, trembling hands. The eyes of patients with toxic goiter are wide open and sometimes seem to go out of orbit.
The main laboratory sign of DTZ is high values of the hormones T3 and T4 with low TSH. In the blood is often relative, and sometimes absolute lymphocytosis. The reason for the increase in lymphocytes is excessive activity of the immune system.
DTZ is treated with thyreostatics followed by surgery or radioactive iodine therapy.
Other autoimmune diseases (rheumatoid arthritis, Crohn's disease, etc.) are also combined with lymphocytosis.
Metal poisoning and medication
Some heavy metals (lead) and drugs (chloramphenicol, analgesics, levodopa, phenytoin, valproic acid) can cause leukopenia by reducing neutrophils. As a result, relative lymphocytosis is formed, which has no clinical significance. It is more important to monitor the absolute number of neutrophils in order to prevent a serious condition (agranulocytosis) of complete defenselessness against bacteria.
What do lowered lymphocytes in the blood say?
Lymphopenia - a decrease in the number of lymphocytes of less than 1.5 * 10 9 cells per liter. Causes of lymphopenia:
- Severe viral infection (hepatitis, influenza)
- Bone marrow depletion
- Drug effects (corticosteroids, cytostatics)
- End-stage cardiac and renal failure
- Tumors of lymphoid tissue (lymphogranulomatosis)
- Immunodeficiency, including AIDS
Fanconi's congenital anemia is named after the most prominent syndrome: anemic. But at the heart of the disease is the exhaustion of the bone marrow and the oppression of all the sprouts of blood. In the analysis of patients there is a decrease in the number of red blood cells, platelets and all types of white cells (including lymphocytes). Congenital pancytopenia is often accompanied by developmental abnormalities (lack of thumbs, short stature, hearing loss). The main danger and main cause of death is a decrease in the number of neutrophils and platelets, resulting in severe infections and massive bleeding. In addition, these patients have an increased risk of cancer.
Treatment of congenital pancytopenia spend hormonal means. They may delay complications for some time. The only chance for a complete cure is a bone marrow transplant. But due to frequent cancers, the average life expectancy of such people is 30 years.
Exposure to different types of radiation (accidental or for the purpose of treatment) can lead to disruption of the bone marrow. As a result, it is replaced by connective tissue, the stock of cells in it becomes poorer. In blood tests, in such cases all indices decrease: erythrocytes, leukocytes and platelets. Lymphocytes are usually lowered.
Some drugs (cytostatics, neuroleptics) that are used for health reasons, can have side effects. One of these effects is the oppression of blood formation. As a result, pancytopenia occurs (a decrease in the number of all blood cells). Acceptance of corticosteroids causes absolute neutrophilia and relative lymphopenia. Most often, after stopping these medications, the bone marrow is restored.
Hodgkin's lymphoma (lymphogranulomatosis)
The main difference between lymphoma and lymphocytic leukemia is the initial place of its occurrence. Tumor cells in lymphomas are located locally, more often in the lymph nodes. In leukemia, the same malignant cells form in the bone marrow and are immediately carried into the general bloodstream.
Symptoms of Hodgkin's lymphoma:
- Enlarged one or more lymph nodes
- Anemia, increased bleeding and susceptibility to infections (with a far advanced process)
- Intoxication (fever, sweating at night, weight loss)
- Symptoms of compression of the organs: choking, vomiting, irregular heartbeat, pain
The main diagnostic tool is a biopsy of the affected lymph node or organ.In this case, a piece of tissue is sent for histological examination, according to the results of which a diagnosis is made. To determine the stage of the disease, a bone marrow puncture is taken and a computed tomography of the main groups of lymph nodes is performed. Blood tests in the early stages of lymphoma may be normal. Deviations, including lymphopenia, occur as the disease progresses.
Diseases are treated with cytotoxic drugs followed by irradiation of the lymph nodes. For relapses, more aggressive chemotherapy and bone marrow transplantation are used.
The prognosis for a similar tumor is usually favorable, the 5-year survival rate is 85% or more. There are several factors that worsen the prognosis: age over 45, stage 4, lymphopenia less than 0.6 * 10 9.
The lack of immunity is divided into congenital and acquired. In both cases, in the general blood test, the level of lymphocytes may change due to T-cell deficiency. If a B-link is affected, a routine blood test often does not reveal abnormalities, therefore additional methods of investigation are required.
Di Giorgi Syndrome
This variant of immunodeficiency is also called thymic hypoplasia (hypoplasia). A chromosome defect in this syndrome also causes heart defects, facial abnormalities, cleft palate and low levels of calcium in the blood.
If the child has an incomplete syndrome, when part of the thymus is still preserved, then he may not suffer too much from this disease. The main symptom is a slightly higher frequency of infectious lesions and a slight decrease in lymphocytes in the blood.
The full syndrome is much more dangerous, it is manifested by severe viral and fungal infections in early childhood, therefore, it requires transplantation of the thymus or bone marrow for the purpose of treatment.
Severe Combined Immunodeficiency (SCID)
Mutations of certain genes can lead to severe damage to cellular and humoral immunity - TKID (severe combined immunodeficiency). The disease manifests itself in the first months after birth. Diarrhea, pneumonia, skin and ear infections, sepsis - the main manifestations of the disease. The causative agents of deadly diseases are microorganisms that are harmless to most people (adenovirus, CMV, Epstein-Barr, herpes zoster).
In general, the analysis of blood revealed an extremely low content of lymphocytes (less than 2 * 10 9 cells per liter), the thymus and lymph nodes are extremely small.
The only possible treatment for TCID is bone marrow transplantation. If you spend it in the first three months of the baby's life, then there is a chance for a complete cure. Without therapy, children with combined immunodeficiency do not live up to 2 years. Therefore, if the child has lowered lymphocytes in the blood, he is constantly suffering from serious infectious diseases, then it is urgent to conduct an additional examination and start treatment.
Acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is associated with the damaging effect of HIV on T-lymphocytes. Penetration of this virus is possible through biological fluids: mainly blood and semen, as well as from mother to child. Significant decrease in lymphocytes does not occur immediately. Sometimes there are several years between infection and the appearance of the AIDS stage. With the progression of the disease and increasing lymphopenia, a person loses the ability to resist infections, they can lead to sepsis and death. The risk of developing tumors increases for the same reason: the disappearance of T-cells. Treatment of HIV infection with special antiretroviral drugs helps to contain the disease, maintains the necessary level of immunity and prolongs life.
Features of lymphocytosis in children
- Immediately after birth, neutrophils predominate from all leukocytes in children. But by the 10th day of life the number of lymphocytes increases, occupying 60% of all white cells. This pattern lasts up to 5-7 years, after which the ratio of lymphocytes and neutrophils reaches adult norms.Therefore, lymphocytosis in young children is a normal physiological phenomenon, if it is not accompanied by additional symptoms and changes in the analyzes.
- The body of young children often responds to infections very violently, producing a leukemoid reaction. It was named because of its resemblance to blood leukemia tumors. With this reaction, the number of leukocytes significantly exceeds the norm and even the level of normal inflammation. Sometimes in the blood appear immature forms (blasts) in the amount of 1-2%. Other sprouts of blood formation (platelets, red blood cells) remain within the normal range. Therefore, extremely high values of white blood (including lymphocytes) do not always mean an oncological disease. Often the cause is ordinary mononucleosis, chickenpox, measles or rubella.
The conclusion from the above is as follows: lymphocytes are extremely important cells in the human body. Their value can be a marker of very dangerous conditions, and can speak of a banal rhinitis. The level of these cells should be assessed only in conjunction with the other elements of the blood, taking into account complaints and symptoms. Therefore, it is better to entrust the evaluation of the results of the analysis to your doctor.
Decreased lymphocytes in the blood of a child
A lowered lymphocyte count is called lymphocytopenia (or lymphopenia). There are two types of lymphocytopenia: absolute and relative.
- Absolute lymphopenia occurs when there is a lack of immunity (acquired or congenital). It can appear in patients with leukemia, leukocytosis, exposure to ionizing radiation, neutrophilia.
- With relative lymphopenia, the development of the lymphoid system is impaired, then the lymphocytes die very quickly. It also occurs as a result of chronic infections and acute infectious diseases.
Lymphopenia in a child does not show any visible symptoms. But due to cellular immunodeficiency, such signs as:
- significant decrease in lymph nodes and tonsils,
- eczema, pyoderma (purulent skin lesions),
- alopecia (hair loss),
- splenomegaly (enlargement of the spleen),
- yellowness, pale skin,
- petechiae (hemorrhagic spots on the skin).
If lymphocytes are lowered in the blood, the child often has a relapse of infectious diseases, and rare species of microorganisms often act as pathogens.
Usually lymphopenia is asymptomatic, that is, without pronounced signs. However, among the possible symptoms of low lymphocyte levels, the following signs should be highlighted:
- Enlarged spleen.
- General weakness.
- Purulent lesion of the skin.
- Frequent tiredness.
- Pale skin or yellowness.
- Reduction of lymph nodes and tonsils.
- Hair loss.
- The occurrence of eczema and skin rash.
- Often, a symptom of low lymphocyte counts is an increase in body temperature.
If these symptoms occur, it is advisable to take an analysis to check if they accompany lymphopenia, which may indicate various infectious and inflammatory processes in the human body.
What to do if the lymphocytes in the blood are lowered
There is no specific treatment for diminished lymphocytes, since a symptom can be caused by a number of severe pathologies, as well as individual physical features.
When detecting and confirming laboratory results of low levels of lymphocytes in the blood, as well as the lack of clear symptoms of its formation, the hematologist sends the patient for additional diagnostics - ultrasound, MRI / CT, radiography, histology, cytology, and so on.
For adults and children, the course of therapy is prescribed solely on the basis of the identified diagnosis, taking into account the individual characteristics of the patient and his age.
What is bad change in lymphocytes in the blood?
From the above it may seem that the more of these cells in the blood, the higher should be the immunity in humans, and so it should be healthier. And often, a condition where lymphocytes are elevated is a really positive symptom. But in practice, things are not so simple.
First of all, a change in the number of lymphocytes always indicates that not everything is in order in the body. As a rule, they are produced by the body for a reason, and to combat a problem. And the task of the doctor is to find out what the elevated blood cells are talking about.
In addition, a change in the number of white blood cells can mean that the mechanism by which they appear in the blood is disrupted. And from this it follows that the hematopoietic system is also subject to some kind of disease. Elevated levels of lymphocytes in the blood are called lymphocytosis. Lymphocytosis is both relative and absolute. With relative lymphocytosis, the total number of leukocytes does not change, however, the number of lymphocytes increases relative to other types of leukocytes. In absolute lymphocytosis, both leukocytes and lymphocytes increase, while the ratio of lymphocytes to other leukocytes may not change.
A condition in which low lymphocytes are observed in the blood is called lymphopenia.
How to determine the level of lymphocytes
To determine this parameter, it is enough to pass a general clinical blood test. The analysis is given on an empty stomach; before serving, you should not engage in physical activity during the day, do not eat fatty foods, and do not smoke for 2-3 hours. Blood for general analysis is usually taken from the finger, at least - from a vein.
Complete blood count allows you to find out how the different types of white blood cells correlate. This ratio is called leukocyte formula. Sometimes the number of lymphocytes is directly indicated in the decoding analysis, but often the decoding contains only English abbreviations. Therefore, it is sometimes difficult for an uninformed person to find the necessary data in a blood test. As a rule, the required parameter is indicated as LYMPH in the blood test (sometimes also LYM or LY). On the contrary, the content of blood cells per unit volume of blood, as well as normal values, is usually indicated. This parameter may also be referred to as abs lymphocytes. The percentage of lymphocytes in the total number of leukocytes may also be indicated. It should also be borne in mind that different methods of analysis can be used in different laboratories, so that the results of the general blood analysis differ somewhat in different medical institutions.
Causes of Lymphocytosis
Why does white blood cell count increase? This symptom may have several causes. First of all, it is an infectious disease. Many infections, especially viral ones, cause the immune system to produce an increased amount of T-killer and NK cells. This type of lymphocytosis is called reactive.
The number of viral infections that can cause an increase in lymphocytes in the blood include:
Also elevated lymphocytes in the blood can be observed with bacterial and protozoal infections:
However, not every bacterial infection is accompanied by lymphocytosis, since many bacteria are destroyed by other types of white blood cells.
Thus, an increase in lymphocytes in the blood may indicate infection with some viruses, bacteria, fungi, protozoa or multicellular parasites. If the symptoms of the disease, by which one could determine it, are not obvious, then additional tests are carried out.
An increase in the number of white blood cells can be observed not only during the illness, but also after some time after recovery. This phenomenon is called post-infection lymphocytosis.
Another cause of lymphocytosis is diseases of the hematopoietic system (leukemia) and lymphatic tissue (lymphoma).Many of them are malignant. In these diseases, lymphocytosis is observed in the blood, however, immune cells are not full-fledged, and cannot perform their functions.
The main diseases of the lymphatic and circulatory systems that can cause lymphocytosis:
- Lymphoblastic leukemia (acute and chronic),
Other causes that can cause an increase in the number of immune cells:
- Frequent tobacco smoking
- Taking drugs
- Acceptance of certain drugs (levodopa, phenytoin, some analgesics and antibiotics),
- Period before menstruation,
- Prolonged fasting and diet
- The long use of food rich in carbohydrates,
- Allergic reactions
- Toxic poisoning (lead, arsenic, carbon disulfide),
- Immunity disorders
- Endocrine disorders (myxedema, ovarian hypofunction, acromegaly),
- The early stages of certain cancers,
- Lack of vitamin B12,
- Injuries and injuries
- Accommodation in the highlands,
- Radiation injuries
- Taking some vaccines
- Excessive exercise.
Many autoimmune diseases, that is, diseases in which the immune system attacks healthy cells of the body, can also be accompanied by lymphocytosis:
Lymphocytosis can also be temporary and permanent. The temporary type of the disease is usually caused by infectious diseases, injuries, poisoning, medication.
However, the most dangerous causes of lymphocytosis are oncological diseases affecting the hematopoietic system. This reason also cannot be discounted. And therefore, if it is impossible to associate a symptom with some external cause, then it is recommended to undergo a thorough examination.
The most common hemato-oncological diseases in which lymphocytosis is observed are acute and chronic lymphoblastic leukemias.
HIV (human immunodeficiency virus) is a virus that directly infects the cells of the immune system and causes a serious illness - AIDS (acquired immunodeficiency syndrome). Therefore, the presence of this virus can not affect the number of lymphocytes in the blood. Lymphocytosis is usually observed in the early stages. However, as the disease progresses, the immune system becomes weaker and lymphocytosis is replaced by lymphopenia. Also in AIDS there is a decrease in the number of other blood cells - platelets and neutrophils.
Lymphocytes in the urine
Sometimes the presence of lymphocytes can be observed in the urine, which normally should not be. This symptom indicates the presence of inflammation in the urogenital system - for example, urolithiasis, bacterial infections in the urogenital tract. In patients with a transplanted kidney, the presence of lymphocytes may indicate an organ rejection process. Also, these cells can appear in the urine in acute viral diseases.
Decreased lymphocytes - causes
Sometimes there can be a situation opposite to lymphocytosis - lymphopenia, when lymphocytes are lowered. For lymphocytes decrease is characteristic in the following cases:
- Severe infections that deplete lymphocyte stores,
- Tumor lymphoid tissue
- Bone marrow diseases,
- Severe types of heart and kidney failure
- Acceptance of certain drugs, for example, cytostatics, corticosteroids, neuroleptics,
- Radiation exposure
- Immunodeficiency state
A situation where the number of immune cells is below normal can be temporary. So, if in the course of an infectious disease the lack of lymphocytes is replaced by their excess, then this may indicate that the body is close to recovery.
Changes in lymphocytes in the blood of women
For such a parameter as the content of lymphocytes, there are no sex differences. This means that in both men and women in the blood should contain approximately the same number of these cells.
During pregnancy, moderate lymphopenia is usually observed. This is due to the fact that elevated lymphocytes in the blood of women during pregnancy can harm the fetus, which has a different genotype compared to the mother's body. However, in general, the number of these cells does not decrease below the limits of the norm. However, if this happens, the immunity may be weakened, and the woman's body may be subject to various diseases. And if the number of lymphocytes is higher than the norm, then this situation threatens an early abortion. Thus, it is very important for pregnant women to control the level of lymphocytes in the blood. To do this, you must regularly pass tests, both in the first and in the second trimester of pregnancy.
In women, an increase in the number of immune cells can also be caused by certain phases of the menstrual cycle. In particular, a slight increase in lymphocytes may be observed during premenstrual syndrome.
Lymphocytosis in children
When a baby is born, its lymphocyte level is relatively low. However, then the body begins to strengthen the production of white blood cells, and, starting from the first weeks of life, there are a lot of lymphocytes in the blood, much more than in adults. This is due to natural causes - after all, the child has a much weaker body than that of an adult. As a child grows up, the number of these cells in the blood decreases, and at a certain age they become less than neutrophils. Subsequently, the number of lymphocytes approaches the adult level.
However, if there are more lymphocytes than normal for a certain age, then this is a cause for concern. It is necessary to understand what caused lymphocytosis. Usually, the child's body very rapidly reacts to every infection, such as SARS, measles, rubella, highlighting a huge number of white blood cells. But when the infection recedes, their number returns to normal.
However, it should be remembered that lymphocytosis in children can also be caused by such a serious illness as acute lymphoblastic leukemia. Therefore, it is important to regularly check the number of white blood cells in a child with blood tests.
Symptoms of lymphocytosis
Does lymphocytosis manifest in any way other than changing the composition of the blood? In the event that it is caused by an infectious disease, the patient will experience symptoms characteristic of this disease, for example, fever, chills, headaches, cough, rash, etc. But these symptoms are not the symptoms of actual lymphocytosis. However, in some cases, with an increase in lymphocytes caused by non-infectious causes, there may be an increase in lymph nodes and spleen - the organs where the most lymphocytes are located.
Diagnosis of the causes of lymphocytosis
As the number of lymphocytes increases, the reasons for the increase are not always easy to detect. First of all, it is recommended to consult a general practitioner. Most likely, he will give direction to several additional tests - blood for HIV, hepatitis and syphilis. In addition, additional studies may be prescribed - ultrasound, computed or magnetic tomography, radiography.
You may need an additional blood test that would eliminate the error. To clarify the diagnosis, an operation such as a puncture of the lymph node or bone marrow may be necessary.
Typical and atypical immune cells
In determining the cause of an increase in lymphocytes, determining the number of typical and atypical cell types plays an important role.
Atypical lymphocytes are blood cells that have different properties and dimensions as compared to normal ones.
The most common atypical cells are observed in the blood in the following diseases:
- Lymphocytic leukemia
- Infectious mononucleosis.
On the other hand, in many diseases, a large number of atypical cells are not observed:
Using other blood parameters in the diagnosis
You should also consider such factors as the erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR). With many diseases, this parameter rises. The dynamics of other blood components is also taken into account:
- The total number of leukocytes (may remain unchanged, decrease or increase)
- Platelet count (increase or decrease)
- Dynamics of the number of red blood cells (increase or decrease).
An increase in the total number of leukocytes with a simultaneous increase in lymphocytes may indicate lymphoproliferative diseases:
Also, this condition may be characteristic of:
- acute viral infections
- endocrine diseases
- bronchial asthma,
- spleen removal
- cytomegalovirus infection
- whooping cough
Relative lymphocytosis (in which the total number of leukocytes remains approximately constant) is usually characteristic of severe bacterial infections, such as typhoid fever.
In addition, it is found in the case of:
- Rheumatic diseases,
- Addison's Disease,
- Splenomegaly (enlargement of the spleen).
A decrease in the total number of leukocytes against the background of an increase in the number of lymphocytes is possible after suffering severe viral infections or against their background. This phenomenon is explained by the depletion of a reserve of cells of rapid immunity, primarily of neutrophils and an increase in cells of a long-lasting immunity - lymphocytes. If so, then, as a rule, this situation is temporary, and the number of leukocytes should soon return to normal. Also, a similar state of affairs is characteristic of taking certain medications and poisonings.
Reducing the number of red blood cells on the background of lymphocytosis is usually characteristic of leukemia and bone marrow diseases. In addition, cancer of the bone marrow is usually accompanied by a very large increase in lymphocytes - about 5-6 times higher than normal.
A simultaneous increase in the number of red blood cells and lymphocytes can be observed in heavy smokers. The ratio of different types of lymphocytes may also have diagnostic value. For example, when myeloma increases, first of all, the number of cells of type B, with infectious mononucleosis, types T and B.
Treatment and Prevention
Do I need to treat lymphocytosis? In the event that lymphocytes are enlarged due to some diseases, for example, infectious diseases, the treatment of the symptom itself is not required. Attention should be paid to the treatment of the disease that caused it and lymphocytosis will pass by itself.
Infectious diseases are treated with antibiotics or antiviral drugs, as well as anti-inflammatory drugs. In many cases, it is enough just to provide lymphocytes with comfortable conditions to fight the infection - to give the body a rest, eat right and drink plenty of fluids in order to remove toxins from the body. And then the lymphocytes, like soldiers of the victorious army, “will go home,” and their blood level will decrease. Although this may happen far from the day after the end of the disease. Sometimes the trace of the infection in the form of lymphocytosis can be observed for several months.
Quite another thing - leukemia, lymphoma or myeloma. They will not pass "by themselves", but in order for the disease to recede, it is necessary to put a lot of effort. The treatment strategy is determined by the doctor - this can be both chemotherapy and radiation radiotherapy. In the most severe cases, bone marrow transplantation is used.
Severe infectious diseases, such as tuberculosis, mononucleosis, AIDS, also require careful treatment with antibiotics and antiviral drugs.
Everything that has been said about the treatment of lymphocytosis is also true with regard to the prevention of this condition. It does not require specific prevention, it is important to strengthen the body as a whole and the immunity in particular, to eat right, to avoid bad habits, to cure chronic infectious diseases in time.