What causes your white blood cell count to become low?
Various conditions can cause your white blood cell count to become low. These include
Infectious conditions (most common):
- Viral infections
- Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome (AIDS)
Disorders of the bone marrow:
Bone marrow is the place where the production of white blood cells takes place. Conditions or situations that affect the bone marrow can lower your white blood cell count. These include
- Aplastic anemia (a disorder when your bone marrow stops making new blood cells)
- Exposure to certain chemicals such as benzene and pesticides
- Chemotherapy (a cancer therapy that uses anticancer medications)
- Radiation (a cancer therapy that makes use of high-energy waves to destroy the cancerous cells)
- Bone marrow transplant
Some rare bone marrow conditions that cause a low white blood cell count include:
- Myelodysplastic syndromes
- Myeloproliferative syndrome
The immune system in some autoimmune disorders fails to differentiate between germs that attack the body and the body’s own cells such as the white blood cells. These conditions can cause your white blood cell count to become low. These include
- Rheumatoid arthritis
Problems with the spleen:
Along with the bone marrow, the spleen also makes white blood cells. Inflammation of the spleen due to infections (such as malaria) and blood clots can lower your white blood cell count.
The spleen also helps filter damaged blood cells from your system. If it becomes overactive (medically known as hypersplenism), it removes all types of blood cells, whether they are damaged or healthy, including the white blood cells from your body. This lowers your white blood cells count.
It is a disorder characterized by accumulation of inflammatory cells in the body that form lumps (granulomas) in various organs of the body.
- Wellbutrin (bupropion)
- Clozaril (clozapine)
- Sodium valproate
- Lamictal (lamotrigine)
- Minocin (minocycline)
- Sandimmune (cyclosporine)
- Cellcept (mycophenolate mofetil)
- Rapamune (sirolimus)
- Prograf (tacrolimus)
Arsenic poisoning can also cause leucopenia in some cases.
Not eating well can result in vitamin deficiencies such as those of vitamin B12, folic acid/folate, copper, and zinc. These nutritional deficiencies can cause the white blood cell count to become low.
Alcohol abuse can interfere with vitamin metabolism and cause a decrease in the white blood cell count.