Lymphocytes are white blood cells, which are a type of white blood cell. They play a very important role in the internal environment: they protect organs and systems from foreign microorganisms, which means they are responsible for human health. If the lymphocytes are lowered in a child, this may indicate various diseases. Deviations from the norm in the first place talk about violations of the immune mechanism.
The role of lymphocytes
Scientists have identified several types of lymphocytes. Each of them differs in the way of influence on pathogenic microorganisms.
- B lymphocytes. Their number is 10-15% of the total concentration. B-lymphocyte functions are among the most important. They consist in opposition to 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.
- T lymphocytes. This group is the most numerous. It is divided into 3 subspecies. Each of them plays a role:
* T-killers - the destruction of pathogenic microorganisms;
* T-helpers - the synthesis of substances that contribute to the activities of T-killers;
* T-suppressors - reducing the strength of the immune response of the body, which is necessary to preserve their own healthy cells.
The activity of all agents is interconnected, which in the absence of deviations provides a powerful blow to viruses and bacteria. If the lymphocytes in the blood are lowered, the pathological processes begin to develop or are already progressing.
In an adult, the relative number of lymphocytes is equivalent to 19-37% of the total leukocyte volume. If translated into absolute values, you get a range of 1.0-4.8 x 109/ l. When a child is just born, this figure is 22-25%, and up to 6 years old it reaches 60-65%. After overcoming this age line, the number of lymphocytes decreases every year and in 10-16 years is already 30-45%.
To determine the concentration of white bodies it is necessary to pass a complete blood count. This indicator also depends on many internal and external factors. Therefore, it is desirable to carry out blood sampling in the morning (until 11.00) on an empty stomach. If the child is small, you can take the material for analysis 1.5 hours after a meal. Before the procedure, it is important to exclude or limit the use of medications, as they may distort the clinical picture.
Symptoms of lowering lymphocytes
When lymphocytes are lowered in a child, it is very rarely accompanied by visible symptoms. But, since the cellular immunity is broken, the baby's tonsils and lymph nodes may decrease or disappear. Other symptoms of lymphopenia (lowered lymphocyte count) are:
- skin lesions: hair loss from the head and body, pyoderma (pustules), eczema;
- painful increase in the size of the spleen (splenomegaly);
- jaundice, petechiae (small blood spots formed under the epidermis), pallor of the skin.
Lymphopenia is diagnosed in cases where the concentration of lymphocytes becomes less than 1000 / μl in adults and 3000 / μl in children under two years of age. People with this disease are prone to frequent attacks of recurrent infections and rare microorganisms that provoke pneumonia, rubella and chicken pox.
Low lymphocytes in the blood: what does it mean?
If lymphopenia was diagnosed in a newborn, it is likely that the disease was transmitted to him from the mother. This is due to congenital diseases of the immune system or pathologies in which lymphocyte production is impaired. But in most cases, a low level of blood cells is acquired during life. It should be noted that in patients with diagnoses such as AIDS / HIV, the concentration of lymphocytes is negligible.
Deviation from the norm to the lower side arises due to two main factors:
- All human forces are aimed at fighting the infection, and during this period the patient went for blood tests. Quite a lot of agents have already died, and the new party has not yet formed. A similar situation occurs in the early stages and in the midst of viral ailments.
- Organs, the main role of which is to produce new lymphocytes, are affected. This group contains a wide list of diseases and causes that reduce the number of white blood cells: anemia, leukemia, Cushing's disease, radiation and chemotherapy, lymphosarcoma and Hodgkin, corticosteroid therapy, cancers.
In addition, in children, the number of lymphocytes is reduced due to acute inflammatory diseases associated with the gastrointestinal tract, for example, intestinal obstruction or appendicitis. After the child gets nervous, the concentration of white blood cells can drop. When there is not enough protein in the diet, lymphocytes also become smaller.
If lymphocytes are lowered in an adult, what does that mean? All the same: the symptoms and causes are similar to those we quoted above.
The first step is to undergo a comprehensive examination of the body. Based on the data obtained, the doctor will prescribe a treatment regimen. His actions should be aimed at eliminating the cause - only then the therapy will be effective. In cases where the patient has a constant shortage of lymphocytes, or this condition occurs from time to time, he is prescribed immunoglobulin drugs. In case of congenital immunodeficiency, experts recommend transplanting stem cells.
Self-medication in this case is not allowed. The patient must adjust his diet, in particular, enrich it with protein and fiber, comply with the water regime, give up bad habits and engage in therapeutic exercises. When it comes to children, parents are obliged to carefully consider their diet, taking into account age and needs. It is important to visit the attending physician in time and follow all his prescriptions.