Autoimmune and chronic neutropenia are rare disorders that make it difficult for the body to fight against potentially lethal infections. Neutropenia occurs when the body’s neutrophil count falls below 1500 per microliter.
The number of neutrophils decreases due to increased neutrophil destruction in the periphery by antibodies resulting from autoimmune illnesses. These autoantibodies target a cell membrane antigen located on IgG Fc receptors. There are two types of autoimmune neutropenia: primary and secondary. Primary autoimmune disease is common in children, whereas secondary autoimmune disease commonly occurs in adults with other autoimmune diseases or blood cancers.
Depending on how severe the illness is and whether any underlying infections are present, the signs and symptoms of autoimmune neutropenia vary from person to person. Some people might not have symptoms, while others might have mouth ulcers, fever, weariness, and repeated infections.
This post discusses the low neutrophils autoimmune disease and autoimmune neutropenia treatment and management strategies.
Neutropenia is characterized by a low number of neutrophils (type of white blood cells). It may result from various causes, such as decreased production, endothelium, tissue sequestration, or enhanced peripheral breakdown.
The immune system incorrectly recognizes neutrophils as foreign or aberrant and then destroys these cells due to this misrecognition. The immune system produces autoantibodies directed against neutrophils, and their presence can be observed in the blood. These autoantibodies bind to the neutrophils and mark them for elimination by the complement system or other immune cells. The elimination of neutrophils reduces the total number of this type of cell in the bloodstream.
Since neutrophils are an important part of the body’s defense mechanism against bacterial and fungal infections, people with neutropenia are more likely to contract infections than healthy ones.
Chronic neutropenia is defined as autoimmune neutropenia lasting more than three months and having no identifiable cause. In addition to idiopathic reasons, various autoimmune diseases can result in chronic neutropenia.
Based on its origin and pathophysiology, it is categorized as either primary or secondary. In children, the predominant form of autoimmune neutropenia is characterized by a hematologic abnormality (issues with blood cells) and hypoplasia (underdevelopment) of the bone marrow.
The manifestations of secondary autoimmune neutropenia in adults are autoimmune illnesses, primary immunological deficits, infections, hematologic malignancies, and drug exposure. It is also prevalent among individuals recently undergoing transplants and those with specific neurological diseases.
Depending on the severity of the autoimmune disease, the clinical manifestations might range from asymptomatic to life-threatening. Children are at risk for repeated infections, hematologic malignancies, and mental disorders.
Autoimmune disorders develop when the body’s immune system mistakes its tissues for external intruders and attacks them. Some autoimmune diseases associated with low neutrophils include:
If you have low neutrophil or autoimmune disease, consult your healthcare practitioner to manage your condition and prevent infections.
A physical examination, blood tests, and medical history review are required for diagnosis.
If your doctor diagnoses you with autoimmune neutropenia, they may recommend you to a hematologist or a specialist in blood diseases. Together, you can identify the underlying cause of your disease and develop a suitable treatment plan.
The treatment depends on the underlying condition and the pathophysiologic manifestation of the disease. It aims to reduce the likelihood of infection. Following are some common autoimmune neutropenia treatment options:
In addition to medicinal treatments, autoimmune neutropenia can be managed with lifestyle modifications. They include practicing good hygiene, avoiding contact with sick individuals, consuming a nutritious diet, obtaining sufficient rest, and avoiding activities that raise the risk of infection. Close monitoring of any infections is also necessary for management. Seeing your physician develop the optimal treatment approach for your unique condition is essential.
Chronic or autoimmune neutropenia can significantly impact an individual’s immune system and increase the risk of infection. Various factors, like medications, underlying autoimmune diseases, and genetic disorders, can contribute to these conditions. Early detection and management are critical for avoiding complications and improving overall health. Medication, growth factors, and intravenous immunoglobulin are some treatment options.
If you are experiencing symptoms of autoimmune or chronic neutropenia, it is critical to seek the advice of a healthcare professional to ensure an accurate diagnosis and appropriate treatment. Autoimmune specialists at Family Medicine Austin provide expert care and support to patients suffering from autoimmune illnesses. They can collaborate with you to create a personalized treatment plan that meets your needs and improves your quality of life. If you need treatment for one of these conditions, do not hesitate to schedule an appointment with one of our experts.