Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: -penia

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The suffix (-penia) means to lack or to have a deficiency. It is derived from the Greek penía for poverty or need. When added to the end of a word, (-penia) often indicates a specific type of deficiency.

Words Ending With: (-penia)

  • Calcipenia (calci-penia): Calcipenia is the condition of having an insufficient amount of calcium in the body. Calcipenic rickets is commonly caused by a deficiency of vitamin D or calcium and results in the softening or weakening of bones.
  • Chloropenia (chloro-penia): A deficiency in the concentration of chloride in the blood is called chloropenia. It may result from a diet poor in salt (NaCl).
  • Cytopenia (cyto-penia): A deficiency in the production of one or more types of blood cells is called cytopenia. This condition may be caused by liver disorders, poor kidney function, and chronic inflammatory diseases.
  • Ductopenia (ducto-penia): Ductopenia is a reduction in the number of ducts in an organ, typically the liver or gall bladder.
  • Enzymopenia (enzymo-penia): The condition of having an enzyme deficiency is called enzymopenia.
  • Eosinopenia (eosino-penia): This condition is characterized by having abnormally low numbers of eosinphils in the blood. Eosinophils are white blood cells that become increasingly active during parasitic infections and allergic reactions.
  • Erythropenia (erythro-penia): A deficiency in the numbers of erythrocytes (red blood cells) in the blood is called erythropenia. This condition may result from blood loss, low blood cell production, or red blood cell destruction.
  • Granulocytopenia (granulo-cyto-penia): A significant decrease in the numbers of granulocytes in the blood is termed granulocytopenia. Granulocytes are white blood cells that include neutrophils, eosinophils, and basophils.
  • Glycopenia (glyco-penia): Glycopenia is sugar deficiency in an organ or tissue, usually caused by low blood sugar.
  • Kaliopenia (kalio-penia): This condition is characterized by having insufficient concentrations of potassium in the body.
  • Leukopenia (leuko-penia): Leukopenia is an abnormally low white blood cell count. This condition poses an increased risk in infection, as the immune cell count in the body is low.
  • Lipopenia (lipo-penia): Lipopenia is a deficiency in the number of lipids in the body.
  • Lymphopenia (lympho-penia): This condition is characterized by a deficiency in the number of lymphocytes in the blood. Lymphocytes are white blood cells that are important to cell-mediated immunity. Lymphocytes include B cells, T cells, and natural killer cells.
  • Monocytopenia (mono-cyto-penia): Having an abnormally low monocyte count in the blood is called monocytopenia. Monocytes are white blood cells that include macrophages and dendritic cells.
  • Neuroglycopenia (neuro-glyco-penia): Having a deficiency in glucose (sugar) levels in the brain is termed neuroglycopenia. Low glucose levels in the brain disrupts neuron function and if prolonged, can lead to tremors, anxiety, sweating, coma, and death.
  • Neutropenia (neutro-penia): Neutopenia is a condition characterized by having low numbers of infection-fighting white blood cells called neutrophils in the blood. Neutrophils are one of the first cells to travel to an infection site and actively kill pathogens.
  • Osteopenia (osteo-penia): The condition of having lower than normal bone mineral density, which may lead to osteoporosis, is called osteopenia.
  • Phosphopenia (phospho-penia): Having a phosphorus deficiency in the body is termed phosphopenia. This condition may result from an abnormal excretion of phosphorus by the kidneys.
  • Sarcopenia (sarco-penia): Sarcopenia is the natural loss of muscle mass associated with the aging process.
  • Sideropenia (sidero-penia): The condition of having abnormally low iron levels in the blood is known as sideropenia. This may result from blood loss or iron deficiency in the diet.
  • Thrombocytopenia (thrombo-cyto-penia): Thrombocytes are platelets, and thrombocytopenia is the condition of having an abnormally low platelet count in the blood.
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Your Citation
Bailey, Regina. "Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: -penia." ThoughtCo, Aug. 26, 2020, Bailey, Regina. (2020, August 26). Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: -penia. Retrieved from Bailey, Regina. "Biology Prefixes and Suffixes: -penia." ThoughtCo. (accessed May 28, 2023).