Difference between Leukemia and Leukopenia

It is important to understand the difference between Leukemia and Leukopenia which are health conditions caused by the number of white blood cells in the body. The white blood cells in the body are responsible for protecting it from infections. These cells are produced in the bone marrow. There are several types of white blood cells and each type is responsible for fighting particular types of pathogens. In normal cases, white blood cell count ranges between 4,500 and 10,000 for each microliter. When the count of these cells drops or exceeds this range, the body experiences health complications.


Leukemia is type of cancer that affects the blood cells. It damages the bone marrow where blood cells are made. When the bone marrow is affected by this condition, it produces excessive number of white blood cells. The cells produced in this manner are unusual and do not function as normal white blood cells. Their growth is abnormal and they continue growing beyond expectations.

If the abnormal cells continue to spread, they cause various complications to the blood cells. They can spread to other parts of the body and cause pain and swelling in the affected areas. Leukemia can be grouped in various categories depending on the cells it affects and speed of growth. It can be acute which means it worsens quickly and its effects show quite soon. Chronic leukemia develops slowly and it can take years before it manifests itself.

The disease can also be grouped as either myelogenous or lymphocytic. Myeleogenous leukemia affects the type of cells that eventually develop into platelets or red blood cells. Lymphocytic leukemia attacks the white blood cells known as lymphocytes.


Leukopenia is the opposite of leukemia. A person will have this condition when the white blood cells count in the blood is less than 4,000 in a microliter. There are a number of factors that cause this condition including the following:

The symptoms of Leukopenia vary from one individual case to another. They are mainly dependent on the cause and the seriousness of each case. A person suffering from this disease will have oral sores and infections. A person may feel cold and develop a desire for warm liquids.

Though they have similarities, there is a clear difference between Leukemia and Leukopenia. They do not portray the same symptoms and their treatment is not the same. It is not yet clear what causes leukemia, but exposure to excessive radiations and such other conditions may cause leukemia. Treatment of Leukopenia varies according to the type of the disease.