A blood test is able to reflect the overall picture of the patient's health. However, looking at the conclusion, an ordinary person without medical education is unlikely to be able to understand what this or that line means. For example, what can the entry "segmented neutrophils reduced"? In this article, you will learn what neutrophils are, what they are, as evidenced and what needs to be done in order for their number to return to normal.
What are neutrophils?
Back in school, in biology class, we all studied the composition of the blood — leukocytes, red blood cells, and platelets. The first ones are a kind of "protective bastion", which plays a key role in human immunity and takes the first blow of any disease. There are special enzymes in leukocytes that make it possible for these colorless blood cells to absorb pathogenic microorganisms and even destroy them.
In turn, leukocytes are divided into several subspecies. One of them is neutrophils. And this is the most numerous subspecies of leukocytes, since they play the role of a kind of advanced army. The task of neutrophils is to arrive at the site of tissue damage (burn, wound, inflammation), absorb pathogenic bacteria and self-destruct along with them.
Neutrophils can be of 2 types - segmented and band. The former are considered fully formed, they have a clear, complete structure. The second - immature, are in the process of formation and have a rod-shaped core.
There is another type of leukocyte closely associated with neutrophils - these are lymphocytes. Their task is to recognize and destroy the causative agents of various fungal, tumor and infectious diseases. As a rule, if segmented neutrophils are lowered, lymphocytes are elevated. Similar data from a blood test indicate that an inflammatory process is occurring in the human body. The focus of this process can be clarified with the help of other medical research.
What does neutrophil lowering indicate?
The reasons for this may be completely different:
- viral infection (measles, chickenpox, influenza, etc.);
- severe bacterial infections (such as typhoid fever or tuberculosis);
- gastric or duodenal ulcer;
- vitamin B deficiency;
- bone marrow metastases;
- anaphylactic shock;
- complications due to radiation or chemotherapy.
However, this is not a complete list. Thus, reduced neutrophils are observed in people living in poor environmental conditions. In addition, if a patient has taken analginum, chloramphenicol, or penicillin for a long time, this can also lead to a decrease in neutrophils.
The occurrence of inflammation entails the active production of neutrophils by the bone marrow. Mature (segmented) neutrophils "rush into battle", that is, go to the damaged organ and begin their work on the neutralization of pathogenic bacteria or viruses. As mature neutrophils disappear from the blood, the bone marrow is forced to make up for their loss. This leads to the fact that stab-core, immature neutrophils begin to take the place of segmented neutrophils. Thus, the level of segmented neutrophils in the blood falls.
The number of segmented neutrophils in a woman’s blood can increase during pregnancy and lactation. This is because the waste of the fetus, including leukocytes, can enter the blood of the maternal organism. At such times, it is very important to constantly monitor the level of neutrophils in the blood and not to allow a sharp change (increase or decrease) in their number, since such a jump may indicate the presence of a threat of miscarriage.
What if segmented neutrophils are reduced in an adult?
Since neutrophils are the most numerous cells in the blood, their number in adults is quite large. Neutrophil level from 45 to 70 percent is considered the norm. In case the indicator falls below 45%, it is time to sound the alarm.
Many infectious, bacterial and viral diseases can begin to flow hidden. The person at the same time does not feel almost any discomfort and considers himself quite healthy. If the blood test revealed a decrease in the number of segmented neutrophils in the blood, it is very important to focus on this and continue the examination to find out exactly where the lesion is located. We all know perfectly well that any disease is easier to cure in the early stages, while it has not yet “taken root” and has not caused serious damage to the body. Do not neglect the results of the analysis, and if you have any doubts, consult your doctor.
Actually a decrease in segmented neutrophils is not treated, since this is not a disease, but only a symptom. Once the disease is resolved, the neutrophils themselves will return to normal.
Low rates in a child
Any adult cares much more carefully about the health of his children than about his own. And there is a quite logical reason for this - the child's body only increases the protective potential, as evidenced by the indicators of the normal neutrophil content in the blood. Depending on the age of the baby, this figure may vary.
- Newborns. Since their bodies have been associated with the mother for a long time, there are about the same number of neutrophils in a newborn baby as in an adult — from 45 to 78 percent.
- Breast babies up to a year. As it exists separately from the maternal organism, the level of neutrophils in a child’s blood acquires an indicator from 20 to 45 percent.
- From 1 year to 12 years. The immunity of the child over time increases the "database", the number of neutrophils is 25-60 percent.
- Adolescents aged 13-15 years. The number of neutrophils is gradually approaching the rate of an adult. In 13-15 years, it ranges from 40 to 60 percent.
- Teens over 16 years old. At this age, the child’s body reaches the adult neutrophil rate and is 45–70 percent.
If segmented neutrophils are reduced in a child, you must first take into account the peculiarities of his age. So, in babies, neutrophils can be below normal all the time (this is called chronic neutropenia). Fears are unnecessary here, neutropenia is benign and passes itself on reaching 2-3 years of age.
Sometimes a blood test can show a reduced amount of neutrophils in a child due to improper preparation for a blood test. In such a situation, the analysis must be repeated, and it should be trained correctly, to make an analysis on an empty stomach.
In cases where the results of the blood test still indicate the presence of an inflammatory process, it is necessary to establish the source of inflammation by means of additional medical research and proceed to treatment. Moreover, throughout the treatment and after its termination it is very important to monitor the level of segmented neutrophils. If the treatment does not affect the results of the analysis, it is recommended to consult a hematologist.
In any case, a blood test that gives the most accurate picture of the state of health does not apply to those factors that should be neglected. Do not hesitate to contact your doctor with questions, because it will help you or your child to recover as soon as possible. Be healthy!