Home Blood problems Low Neutrophils and High Lymphocytes: Causes and Treatment

Low Neutrophils and High Lymphocytes: Causes and Treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Low neutrophils and high lymphocytes can occur from many causes:

  • A viral infection
  • Drug treatments (such as chemotherapy or other drugs)
  • Even more severe problems such as some types of leukemia

Blood tests can be compared to a photograph of the blood at one point in time. It is important to compare your results with the symptoms and manifestations in your body. For this reason, it is essential not to be scared only by a few numbers, and medical consultation is critical.

In this FastlyHealarticle, you will be able to discover the leading causes and treatments of the problems that cause low neutrophils and high lymphocytes.

What are Neutrophils and Lymphocytes?

Both neutrophils and lymphocytes are cells present in the blood. They are leukocytes or white blood cells whose function is to fight infection and defend your body.


These respond to body inflammation and are responsible for helping to destroy microorganisms that damage your body, such as bacteria and fungi.

Normal values ​​are 40–70% of total leukocytes or 1,800–7,700 neutrophils / microliter (mcL).

These can be increased or decreased depending on the disease that affects you. When they are low, they speak of neutropenia, and when they are high, of neutrophilia.


These cells that defend the human body have different functions. Some of them make antibodies, and others directly attack microorganisms. Together, they regulate immune responses.

We speak of lymphocytosis when several lymphocytes are more significant than usual and lymphopenia if they are less than those that should be present per microliter (mcL) of blood.

Average values ​​for these blood cells are 22–44% of total leukocytes or 1,000–4,800 lymphocytes/ml.

Neutropenia and lymphocytosis from viral infection

Are you interested in knowing why neutrophils may be low and lymphocytes high? There can be several reasons for finding this type of alteration in a blood test, but remember that a trial is like a photograph of your blood at any given time. Frequently, these alterations are transitory and may not have much meaning.

The most important thing is to correlate the numbers obtained from the blood test, the person’s symptoms, and their medical history. What a professional feels and what a professional finds when reviewing it.

We speak of low neutrophils when they are below 1800 / mcL. This value is standard, but there may be variations based on age, genetic and environmental factors. The lymphocytes are high if over 3000 / mcL.

Viral infections are among the most common causes of elevated lymphocytes and decreased normal neutrophils—viruses such as those that cause hepatitis, flu, and mononucleosis, among others.

Symptoms such as fever, malaise, skin rashes, and abdominal pain, among others, can occur in these types of pictures.

Mononucleosis common cause

One of those most frequently associated with low neutrophils and high lymphocytes is mononucleosis within the virosis.

The Epstein Barr virus generally causes this disease. The symptoms that appear will depend mainly on the person’s defenses. They can be presented as follows:

  • The incubation period can go from 14 to 50 days.
  • It may not give symptoms (this is common in young children).
  • High fever for 10 to 14 days.
  • Severe sore throat
  • Reddened pharynx with small grayish-white spots.
  • Glands of different inflamed areas (neck, head, behind the ears, neck, etc.).
  • Headache.
  • Stomach ache.
  • Nausea, vomiting
  • Abdominal swelling (especially liver and spleen)
  • The yellowish tint of skin, conjunctiva, and mucous membranes.
  • Rash on the skin.

It is common in children, young adults, and people with low defenses. It is called the “kissing disease” because it is spread from an infected person’s tiny drops of saliva.

Its treatment is symptomatic, and analgesics (such as paracetamol) can be administered. Rest, and a very light diet are recommended.

Neutropenia and false lymphocytosis

Many times, when a deficient number of neutrophils and a high number of lymphocytes appear in a blood test, what happens is that as there are few neutrophils, the lymphocytes seem to be more than they are because the proportion changes and they occupy a more significant number of space in one mcL of the blood sample.

Let’s see this with an example: if you have a vase full of white and red roses and you remove most of the red roses, in appearance, there will be many more white flowers. The percentage of white flowers will be higher at that time. Let’s look at it with numbers: if you have 100 pinks, 50 white and 50 red, and remove 25 red ones, you will have 75 flowers left: 50 white and 25 red. If you take it as a percentage, you will have 66% white flowers and 33% red. Even if you have not increased the number of white flowers, there seem to be more.

This apparent increase in lymphocytes is known as ” false lymphocytosis ” or relative lymphocytosis and occurs in many cases of neutropenia. This will depend on the person’s reaction to the disease and the magnitude of the infectious process. This is the case of, for example:

  • Viral infections
  • Serious bacterial infections.
  • Chemotherapy.

What to do?

When neutropenia is present, there is an increased susceptibility to infection, and there are usually no symptoms. That is why it is essential to improve eating and resting habits, take care of hygiene, and drink pure water.

Lack of neutrophil production

When the bone marrow does not produce the number of neutrophils it should, it is called chronic hypoplastic or primary hypoplastic neutropenia.

In this case, the spleen is not affected. It is not a cyclical disorder, nor is the production of other blood cells affected. It can, in some cases, be related to some instances of anemia.

What to do?

Medical follow-up that also includes the incorporation of healthy habits is essential. In this way, there is a possibility of improving the present imbalance.

Leucemia con neutropenia

Leukemia is a disease in which there is neoplastic proliferation of blood cells. It can be of different types according to the cell it affects. It can be acute or chronic.

In some sporadic particular types of leukemia, there may be neutropenia associated with increased lymphocyte production. In that case, a blood test will show high lymphocytes and low neutrophils.

If a patient with leukemia has neutropenia, the case is complicated since the probability of contracting infections is very high. This can complicate the picture and lead to severe health conditions.

In this case, it is also essential to have one or a professional who can carry out a comprehensive health check. Chemotherapy treatments may be necessary, but the most important thing is to correct lifestyle habits. Otherwise, the state of health will only continue to deteriorate. These include:

  • Eat as naturally as possible.
  • Avoid processed products.
  • Avoid excess meat and dairy.
  • Incorporate fresh fruits and vegetables.
  • Get adequate rest at night for 6 to 8 hours.

This article is merely informative. At FastlyHeal .com, we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor if you present any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Low Neutrophils and High Lymphocytes: Causes and Treatment, we recommend entering our Blood, Heart, and Circulation category.

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