We all know white blood cells are essential elements of the blood. Their primary role is to fight infection and protect our body from various diseases. They attack bacteria, viruses, and germs that invade our bodies. A white blood cell count is a measuring test that counts the number of white blood cells in our body. The normal range is between 4,500 to 10,000 white blood cells per microliter. What if the number increases than the healthy range? Then we will call it high white blood cell count.
The doctor uses a medical term for this high WBC count. The name is leukocytosis. High white blood cell counts many concerns as it may indicate an underlying condition. It can include autoimmune diseases, immune deficiencies, blood disorders, etc. Mainly a high WBC count shows that it is fighting with an infection. But there are other reasons behind this increased white blood cell count. You will see some changes in your body if your body produces too many white blood cells. By taking proper treatment while diagnosis, patients can reduce high white blood cell count.
What Is High White Blood Cell Count
White blood cells tend to fight off infection, and this may seem very beneficial. But this may turn out dangerous if the number increases. We call it a high WBC count. It may not be a specific disease itself but a summation of other conditions. They are -infection, stress, inflammation, trauma, allergy, or certain diseases. The average range of concentration should be in the field of 4,500 to 10,000 leukocytes per microliter. During leukocytosis, the number of white blood cells gets higher.
Please measure the different types of white cells. You should see a doctor before doing any test. It can give you an idea of what is causing you a high white blood cell count. We all know white blood cells play an essential role in our immune system to fight infections. There are many reasons for this high WBC count. It can include blood disorders like leukemia, which is very malignant. Bone marrow diseases like polycythemia vera, myelofibrosis can also happen. People can suffer from thyroid problems because of a high white blood cell count.
On the other hand, some disorders are very benign, like autoimmune neutropenia. But all types of diseases can affect both adults and children. Your body will show some sudden changes if the white blood cells increase. Then your doctor will do some tests to find out about the abnormal WBC levels.
Types Of White Blood Cell
There are various types of white blood cells in our body. These all try to protect the body against disease and foreign invaders. Different types of white blood cells serve different functions. Most people produce around 100 billion white blood cells every day. However, it can vary from person to person. These are generally between 4000 and 11,000 cells in every microliter of blood. The different types of white blood cells are –
- Lymphocytes-These are essential for producing antibodies that help the body protect itself from bacteria, viruses, and other threats. The percentage for this 20 to 40 percent.
- Neutrophils-It destroys bacteria and fungi. This is how it protects the body. The average percentage for this white blood cell is 55 to 73 percent.
- Basophils-These try to prevent allergy mostly and send chemicals into the bloodstream. Standard percentage for this white blood cell is .5 to 1 percent.
- Eosinophils-These play a significant role by destroying parasites and cancer cells. The percentage for this is 1 to 4 percent.
- Monocytes-These try to attack and break down germs or bacteria that enter the body. The percentage for this is 2 to 8 percent.
When the number gets higher than usual, the body goes through some health issues. High white blood cell count may create severe health issues later. So it is better to consult your doctor as soon as possible.
Causes Of High White Blood Cell Count
There are a few reasons behind this high white blood cell count. Some of them are-
- Infection –High white blood cells can be caused by viral, bacterial, or parasitic infection. When the body is fighting off infections, the bone marrow works overtime. It tries to release some more white blood cells. This is a normal immune response to protect the body from pathogens.
- Inflammation-All kinds of inflammatory disorders can cause the white blood cell level to spike. Once the inflammation goes down, the white blood cells return to the average level.
- Severe stress -Anxiety and stress can even increase the cortisol level in the blood. The abnormal level of cortisol goes through the body. Then the bone marrow kicks into overdrive—That’s how it causes high white blood cell count.
- Drug Reactions-Certain medications can cause high white blood cell count. They are- anti-inflammatory drugs, cancer drugs, medicines for various mental health. These all can cause a significant spike in white blood cells. Medications like corticosteroids and epinephrine also elevate the blood level.
- Smoking or chronic obstructive pulmonary disease- It means you have a lung and airway disease like emphysema or chronic bronchitis. It blocks proper airflow. Smoking cigarettes can cause this. Later it results in inflammation in the lungs and air passages.
These are mostly the leading causes. Other causes are not as fatal as these.
- Pregnancy or labor
- Strenuous exercise
- Nutrient deficiencies
- Whooping cough
Symptoms Of High White Blood Cell Count
When a high white blood cell count occurs, a patient can see some symptoms. However, the symptoms vary from disease to disease. On the other hand, some people do not have any symptoms at first. But some of the symptoms are very common. They are-
- Frequent or recurrent infections
- Mouth ulcers
- Skin abscesses
- Unexplained weight loss
Moreover, high white blood cell count can be a symptom of another underlying problem. You may get those symptoms which associate with that condition. On the other hand, people with leukocytosis may experience some symptoms. They are fever, bleeding, bruises. General pain, fainting. If you see those symptoms, you should consult a doctor as soon as possible.
High White Blood Cell Count Diseases
If the white blood cell increases in number, people suffer from proliferative diseases.
- Leukemia-It’s a type of cancer that dramatically increases your number of white blood cells. Leukemia blood cells are often non-functional. Hence it may increase the risk of infection in cancer patients. Possible causes are genetic predisposition, smoking, chemical, or radiation exposure.
- Leukocytosis-This a result of high white blood cell count. Possible causes are -viral infections, certain medications, allergies, smoking, inflammatory diseases.
- Autoimmune neutropenia- The body produces antibodies that attack and destroy neutrophils. It associates with other diseases like Crohn’s disease and rheumatoid arthritis.
- Several congenital neutropenias: Genetic mutation is the leading cause of this disease. People with severe congenital neutropenia can suffer from bacterial infections.
- Chronic granulomatous disease occurs when all types of white blood cells cannot function properly. Most people inherit this condition from their previous generation. Later it can result in multiple infections.
If the high white blood cell count gets very serious, then these diseases can occur.
Diagnosis For High White Blood Cell Count
The effects of high white blood cell count depend on the condition that is causing them. Fluctuations in blood cell count may not cause any symptom at all.
- Firstly the doctor will note down the symptoms. After that, he will go for a blood test to count the white blood cells. He will also do some other tests to find out the exact cause of the problem.
- The first test is usually the complete blood count. If you have recurrent or unusual infections, then your doctor may doubt that. He will suspect a high white blood cell disorder.
- While reviewing results, your doctor may look for a change in your blood. It can be either your total WBC count or int the number of a particular type of WBC.
- The doctor will compare the result with the appropriate reference range of WBC counts.
- Men have 5000 to 10000 WBC per microliter of blood. Women have 4500 to 11000 WBC microliter of blood. Children have 5000 to 10000 WBC per microliter of blood. Newborns have 9000 to 30000 WBC per microliter of blood.
- If your results are above average, then you have a high white blood cell count. Then your doctor will try to find out the causes of this. Later he will prescribe you some medicines according to your result.
- He may also do a blood smear. It is a test where a small amount of blood is placed on glass. Later the lab professional will examine your blood cell under a microscope. They do that to find out any abnormalities that can cause a disorder.
- If patients have many complications, the doctor can suggest a bone marrow biopsy test.
Treatment For High WBC Count
Every problem has a solution. Treatment for high white blood cell count depends on the type of disease. Also, it depends on the causes too. For people who have high white blood cell count, the doctors try to monitor them regularly. This way, they can really ensure their treatment regimen is working. Possible treatment for this high white blood cell count can be –
- Antibiotics -The doctors can prescribe antibiotics to treat and prevent infections.
- Colony-stimulating factors -These types of medications can stimulate white blood cell production in the bone marrow.
- Stem cell transplantation -Some doctors suggest it for curative therapy in some cases.
After a proper diagnosis, the doctor will suggest you take better treatment.
Exercise For High WBC Count
If you do a blood test right after working out, then don’t worry because your body increases white blood cells during any exercise. Moreover, this increase in the activity of white blood cells has some of its own perks. Like it actually allows your body to detect any disease-causing organisms more rapidly than under normal circumstances. This is undoubtedly another benefit of exercise. After work out, your white blood cells tend to increase in both intensity and proportion. Even the runners’ white blood cell levels triple during a marathon. It will be best if you wait for a day after a heavy workout session. Then you will do a blood test, and the result will come out accurate.
Foods For Decreasing High WBC Count
Some foods will help you to decrease your high white blood cell count. It means what you eat can also affect your white blood cells.
- Avoid eating fatty food, especially fast foods.
- Try to eat those foods that are high in antioxidants. These are -vitamin C and E, fiber, calcium, fish oils.
- Some foods affect lowering inflammation. These are-garlic, herbs and spices, grapes, soy protein, nuts, black and green teas, vinegar.
- Try to eat fruits and vegetables as much as you can.
- Omega -3 fatty acids help to increase heart health. Also, it tries to elevate the activity of phagocytes. It protects you from foreign bacteria. Salmon fish contains a large amount of omega 3 fatty acids.
- Try to eat foods that contain vitamin c. These are mostly grapes, guava, pineapples, broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers.
Take Good Care Of Your Health
No matter how severe the disease is, there is a cure for this. We know high white blood cell count can have a significant effect on our body. The impact will depend on each individual’s diagnosis. Many of these issues are chronic health concerns. If you see some changes in your body regarding this, then consult your doctor. You may not acknowledge what’s happening in your body.
But when you are conscious of the matter, it may be too late. For this, You may get affected by WBC disorders. Fatigue can be a widespread concern for people with high white blood cell count. So before it’s too late, it’s high time you became careful about your health. Try to maintain a healthy lifestyle. Eat fresh vegetables and fruits more and more. Try to do exercise regularly, even for 10 minutes. It is much better to practice prevention strategies to avoid any disease. Listen to your body; eat, and sleep well.