Elevated white blood cell count, also called leukocytosis, can suggest a variety of diseases, including infections, inflammation, physical injury, and problems with the immune system. Typically, a full blood count (FBC) is performed to establish leukocytosis.
The exact cutoff point for a high white blood cell count varies by laboratory. In general, adults with a white blood cell count greater than 11,000 (leukocytes) per microliter of blood are regarded to have a high white blood cell count.
Types of White Blood Cells
White blood cells are critical components of the circulatory system. They are necessary for health and well-being because they fight illness. The types of white blood cells include:
- Lymphocytes: These are vital for producing antibodies that help the body to defend itself against bacteria, viruses, and other threats.
- Neutrophils: These are powerful white blood cells that destroy bacteria and fungi.
- Basophils: These alert the body to infections by secreting chemicals into the bloodstream, mostly to combat allergies.
- Eosinophils: These are responsible for destroying parasites and cancer cells, and they are part of an allergic response
- Monocytes: These are responsible for attacking and breaking down germs or bacteria that enter the body.
Symptoms of High White Blood Cell Count
The precise effects of a high white blood cell count are condition- or factor-dependent. Blood cell count fluctuations may generate no symptoms at all.
After noting any symptoms, the doctor can perform a blood test to determine the white blood cell count, and more tests and examinations are frequently required to determine the precise source of the illness.
Associated symptoms include:
Causes of High White Blood Cell Count
- medications, including corticosteroids
- a bone marrow or immune disorder
- certain cancers, such as acute or chronic lymphocytic leukemia
- emotional stress
- allergic reactions
- excessive exercise
When To See The Doctor
A high white blood cell count is typically discovered when your doctor orders testing to assist in diagnosing an existing condition. It is rarely a surprise discovery or one made by chance.
Consult with your doctor to determine the significance of these results. An elevated white blood cell count, in conjunction with other test results, may already reveal the cause of your illness. Alternatively, your doctor may recommend additional tests to further analyze your condition.