Table of contents:
- Normal Leukocyte Count
- Various Causes of High Leukocyte Count
- Symptoms of High Leukocytes or Leukocytosis
Leukocytes or white blood cells play an important role in helping the body fight infection or other diseases. A high leukocyte count can be caused by an infection or it can also indicate certain diseases that need to be watched out for, such as blood disorders or cancer
Leukocytes or white blood cells are produced by the bone marrow and circulated throughout the body through the bloodstream. Leukocytes are an important part of the immune system that functions to produce antibodies that can fight viruses, fungi, bacteria, and disease-causing parasites that enter the body.
Normal Leukocyte Count
Newborns generally have a leukocyte count between 9,000–30,000 per microliter (mcL) of blood. This range of normal leukocyte counts will change with age to only 5,000–10,000 mcL as adults.
In adults, the white blood cell or leukocyte count is said to be high if it reaches more than 11,000 mcL.
Various Causes of High Leukocyte Count
There are five types of white blood cells or leukocytes, namely neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils. When calculated by percentage, leukocytes are called normal if they consist of 55–70% neutrophils, 20–40% lymphocytes, 2–8% monocytes, 1–4% eosinophils, and 0.5–1% basophils. However, sometimes the number may increase.
The following are some of the causes of high leukocytes based on the type of leukocyte:
Neutrophils are the most abundant type of white blood cell in the body. Neutrophils can move freely through the walls of blood vessels and into body tissues to fight all bacteria, viruses and parasites that cause infection.
The number of neutrophils may increase if you have any of the following conditions:
- Bacterial infection
- Injuries or injuries, for example during postoperative recovery
- Inflammation, for example in inflammatory bowel disease, rheumatoid arthritis, or rheumatic fever
- Blood cancer or leukemia
- Pregnancy, especially when the gestational age has reached the last trimester or before delivery
- Excessive stress or exercise
Lymphocytes are of two types, namely B cell lymphocytes which are responsible for producing antibodies and T lymphocytes which play a role in recognizing and capturing foreign organisms or objects in the body, and destroying cells that have been infected.
This type of leukocyte can increase in number due to the following conditions:
- Viral infections, such as measles, smallpox, herpes, rubella, cytomegalovirus and hantavirus
- Bacterial infections, such as whooping cough (pertussis) and tuberculosis
- Cancer, such as multiple myeloma, leukemia, and lymphoma.
- Glandular fever or mononucleosis
- Hepatitis due to viral or bacterial infection
Among other types of leukocytes, monocytes are the white blood cells with the largest size. This type of leukocyte plays a role in capturing and fighting bacteria, parasites, and fungi that enter the body.
Increased monocyte count can be caused by several things, namely:
- Viral infections, such as measles, mumps, and mononucleosis
- Bacterial infections, such as tuberculosis, brucellosis, and syphilis
- Parasitic infections, such as worms and malaria
- Hodgkin's Disease
- Chronic inflammation, such as lupus, vasculitis, and rheumatoid arthritis
Eosinophils are types of leukocytes or white blood cells that function to destroy viruses, bacteria, and parasites, and trigger an inflammatory response, such as allergic reactions, eczema, and asthma.
High eosinophil counts can be caused by the following conditions:
- worm infection
- Drug side effects
- Hypereosinophilia Syndrome
- Celiac Disease
- Allergic reactions, such as eczema or asthma
- Autoimmune diseases, such as lupus, Crohn's disease, and ulcerative colitis
Basophils are a type of leukocyte that plays a role in stopping blood clotting and producing allergic reactions. High basophil count can be caused by:
- Myeloproliferative disease, namely disease of the bone marrow
- Chronic inflammation, such as in rheumatoid arthritis and ulcerative colitis
- Red blood cell production disorders
So, in conclusion, the number of white blood cells or leukocytes can increase when a person's body experiences the following conditions:
- Increase in white blood cells to fight infection
- Immune system disorders that increase the production of white blood cells
- A side effect of drugs that increase the production of white blood cells
- Bone marrow disease that causes the production of white blood cells to rise abnormally
Symptoms of High Leukocytes or Leukocytosis
High leukocytes or leukocytosis do not always cause symptoms. However, people with high WBCs may experience the following signs and symptoms:
- Bleeding or easy bruising
- Body feels tired and weak
- Dizziness or headache
- Arm, leg or stomach pain or tingling
- Difficulty breathing, difficulty concentrating, or visual disturbances
- Losing weight for no reason
Because it can be caused by many diseases, high leukocytes is a condition that needs to be treated immediately. If you experience the above symptoms, you should consult with your doctor to confirm the condition you are experiencing and the cause.
The doctor may perform a physical examination and investigations, including a complete blood count, to determine whether you have high leukocytes or not, along with the cause.If you have high leukocytes, your doctor will advise you on treatment according to the cause.