How to Increase White Blood Cell Count After Chemotherapy

Strong chemotherapy can lower the number of infection-fighting white blood cells in your body, which may weaken your immune system and increase your risk for certain types of infection.

Strong chemotherapy can lower the number of infection-fighting white blood cells in your body, which may weaken your immune system and increase your risk for certain types of infection.

A low white blood cell (WBC) count, is one of the more serious negative effects of chemotherapy. It can make it needed to delay treatment to enable the WBC count to recuperate, and/or trigger the care group to decrease the chemotherapy dose to avoid it from happening again. WBCs are essential for the body to eliminate infection, making the threat of infection higher when the WBC count is low.

The most crucial WBC in fighting infections is the neutrophil. If the neutrophil count is low, it is called neutropenia (new-tro-pee-nia). Having neutropenia puts a client at an especially high danger of establishing an infection.

How Are Low Blood Cell Counts Treated after Chemotherapy?

If you have low blood cell counts, your treatment will depend on which counts are low and what’s causing the low numbers. Typical treatments include:

  • Blood transfusions. Transfusions help individuals with low levels of red cell and platelets. In a blood transfusion you’re provided either red cell or platelets from people who’ve contributed blood. Though transfusions of white blood cells are possible, they’re booked for specific, uncommon situations because of the danger of many problems.
  • Medications. Your doctor might prescribe medications that stimulate the production of more blood cells. Medications have advantages and dangers, so talk with your medical professional about the possible side effects of substance abuse to boost blood cell counts.
  • Stopping or postponing treatment. In extreme cases you may need to stop your cancer treatment altogether, or delay it till your blood cell counts increase.

The type of treatment you get will depend on your cancer treatment and your physical condition.

How to Increase Leukocytes Count to Normal?

If you’re undergoing certain cancer treatments that could trigger low blood cell counts like chemotherapy, your doctor will likely monitor your blood cell counts routinely utilizing a test called a complete blood count (CBC). Low blood cell counts are discovered by analyzing a blood sample taken from a vein in your arm.

What’s being counted What’s normal What’s concerning
White blood cells 3,500 to 10,500 Below 1,000
Hemoglobin 13.5 to 17.5 for men

12 to 15.5 for women

Below 8
Platelets 150,000 to 450,000 Below 20,000

Patients with low WBC counts or neutropenia must avoid individuals with colds or crowded locations and wash their hands frequently. They ought to follow some safety measures to lower the threat of infection. They need to likewise practice some food safety practices to avoid a food-bourne disease.

There are a number of medications, called colony-stimulating aspects, which can avoid the white blood cell count from dropping or help it recuperate quicker. These medications (filgrastim, Pegfilgrastim, sargramostim) are given by an injection. They are most effective when began the day after chemotherapy to avoid the white blood cell count from dropping too low.

There is no specific food understood to assist enhance WBC count. If you are not eating well, ask to consult with an oncology dietician at the treatment center. They might recommend a multi-vitamin that contains B12 and folate, as these vitamins are had to produce WBCs.

Some patients turn to herbal supplements to boost immunity, though there is no proof to support their usage. The commonly used herbs consist of Astragalus and Echinacea. Astragalus has actually revealed some ability to increase immunity in animals, however has not been tested in human beings. Negative effects have actually been reported to consist of diarrhea, low blood pressure, and dehydration.

Echinacea has actually not been studied in people with cancer and there is no proof to reveal it can ease the immune suppression caused by cancer therapy. Echinacea has actually been known to trigger liver problems and can increase the toxicity of some chemotherapies.

As always, you need to discuss making use of any medication, vitamin, or organic supplement with your oncology supplier prior to taking it. The addition of any supplements or medications can hinder other treatments, consisting of chemotherapy and radiation therapy, and can change laboratory results consisting of blood-clotting ability.

How Can You Cope With Low Blood Cell Counts?

Take steps to keep your body healthy when you have low blood cell counts. For instance:

  • Consume a well balanced diet. Your body needs all the vitamins and nutrients it can get to heal itself throughout and after your treatment. Pick plenty of fruits and vegetables. If treatment complications make consuming challenging– for example, if you experience queasiness and throwing up or mouth sores– experiment to discover foods you can endure.
  • Avoid injury. Lots of daily activities put you at risk of cuts and scrapes. A low platelet count makes minor abrasions severe. A low white blood cell count can turn a small cut into a starting point for a major infection. Use an electrical razor instead of a razor to prevent nicks. Ask another person to cut up food in the kitchen. Be gentle when brushing your teeth and blowing your nose.
  • Prevent bacteria. Prevent unneeded exposure to germs when you can. Wash your hands often or use a liquid hand sanitizer. Avoid people who are sick and stay away from crowds. Have somebody else tidy the litter box, bird cage or aquarium. Do not consume raw meat or eggs.
  • Rest. If you feel exhausted, stop and rest. Your body is striving to eliminate the cancer cells and heal the healthy cells damaged by your treatment. Don’t feel guilty about taking some time on your own and asking others to help you. Plan your essential activities for the time of day when you feel most energetic.

Talk to your health care group about other methods you can cope with low blood cell counts.


Last modified: June 12, 2018

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