What is the significance of constant low lymphocytes?

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Question from Jacqueline:
What is the significance of constant low lymphocytes, if any? I have multiple autoimmune disorders and five years ago my extreme sports and very active career/lifestyle came to a dramatic halt. 

Answer from Dr. Leclair:
In general, lymphocytopenia (a low lymphocyte count) occurs because: 

  • The body doesn't make enough lymphocytes. 
  • The body makes enough lymphocytes, but they’re destroyed. 
  • The lymphocytes get stuck in the spleen or lymph nodes. 

Many acquired diseases, conditions and factors can cause lymphocytopenia. Examples include:

  • Infectious diseases, such as AIDS, viral hepatitis, tuberculosis and typhoid fever. 
  • Autoimmune disorders, such as lupus. 
  • Steroid therapy. 
  • Blood cancer and other blood diseases, such as Hodgkin's disease and aplastic anemia
  • Radiation and chemotherapy (treatments for cancer). 
The logical choice then would be the autommune disorders in which the lymphocytes are being destroyed. It is unlikely that they are being trapped by the nodes or spleen since you did not mention any enlarged nodes.

 

Please remember the opinions expressed on Patient Power are not necessarily the views of our sponsors, contributors, partners or Patient Power. Our discussions are not a substitute for seeking medical advice or care from your own doctor. That’s how you’ll get care that’s most appropriate for you. 

Have a question for the experts? Send them to questions@patientpower.info.

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Page last updated on April 25, 2019