High White Blood Cell Count Symptoms, Causes, Treatment

White blood cells are essential parts of the blood. It protects our body from external germs and eliminates all those bacteria or viruses that harm our body.

Scientifically it is called leukocytes which are found throughout the body. So it gives an idea of how physically fit, unfit or sick you are.

In this post we will learn about the causes, symptoms and treatments for high white blood cell count. 

I have already shared a post related to this topic Anxiety And Low White Blood Cell Count. I hope you read this post.

Table of Contents

Types

There are different types of white blood cells, with their varying responsibilities:

Lymphocytes: Lymphocytes are vital for producing antibodies that help the body defend against bacteria, viruses, and other threats.

Neutrophils: Neutrophils are powerful white blood cells that destroy bacteria and fungal infections.

Basophils: It protect the body from infections by secreting chemicals into the bloodstream, mostly to combat allergies.

Eosinophils: These are responsible for destroying fungi and cancer cells, part of an allergic response.

Monocytes: These are responsible for breaking down germs or bacteria that enter the body.

Specific changes in the type of white blood cells

You can experience many changes in your body due to the increase and decrease of these five types of white blood cells. This is a major factor that causes imbalance due to hemolytic changes during pregnancy.

When the immune system fights infection, white blood cells increase. An excessive increase in these cells indicates that the immune system needs support. 

It is due to many reasons, such as trauma, pregnancy, allergic reaction, and autoimmune disorders. An excessive increase in white blood cells can cause some symptoms, such as fever, dizziness, frequent allergic reactions, and swelling.

Read: Do And Don’t For Pregnancy

When the infection spreads very fast on the cells, the white blood cells start decreasing, due to which the immune system weakens, and it also makes the body weak. 

Due to this, the function of the bone marrow is impaired, infection and sepsis can also occur. Some symptoms may appear when white blood cells are low, such as lethargy, fatigue, and serious problems with common infections.

I had earlier shared Leukemia Treatments, Definition, Symptoms, and Causes. I hope you read the post.

Causes

An increased white blood cell is known as leukocytosis. It typically occurs to fight the following conditions:

  • Infection
  • Immunosuppression
  • Medications, such as corticosteroids
  • A bone marrow or immune disorder
  • Cancers, including acute or chronic lymphocytic leukemia
  • Inflammation
  • Injury
  • Emotional stress
  • Labor
  • Pregnancy
  • Smoking
  • Allergic reactions
  • Excessive exercise

Symptoms

There is no identifiable reason for the high white blood cell count. This is known as an idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome.

Those affected by idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome can experience symptoms such as:

  • Weight loss
  • Fevers
  • Night sweats
  • Fatigue
  • Coughing
  • Chest pain
  • Swelling
  • Stomach ache
  • Skin rash
  • Pain
  • Weakness
  • Confusion
  • Coma

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What is the life span of WBC?

They are made in the bone marrow. It is also known as the soldier of the body. It produces antigens and antibodies that participate in the immune system. Antibodies once formed are not destroyed throughout life.

I had earlier shared Can Bone Marrow Transplant Changes DNA?. I hope you read the post.

What is the normal count of white blood cells during pregnancy?

There are about 4500 – 11000/cubic millimeter white blood cells in a normal woman. However, during pregnancy, its minimum count is reduced to 6000/cubic millimeter. Therefore, it is normal to have 12000-18000/microliter white cells in the third trimester.

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Treatment

Three different types of tests are used to determine why you have increased levels of white blood cells:

Complete blood count with differential: 

This is the most common test that’s carried when your WBC count is higher than normal. This test determines the percentage of each particular type of WBC from a blood sample.

Peripheral blood smear: 

Your doctor may refer to this test when you have lymphocytosis or neutrophilia, looking at all blood cells’ form and maturity. This test may not confirm the type of leukocytosis. If there are immature WBC counts, it can lead to bone marrow biopsy. This test involves applying a thin layer of blood onto a glass slide and using a microscope to view the cells.

Bone marrow biopsy: 

This test identifies leukemia from mild causes. It includes taking a sample of your bone marrow from the middle bone using a needle and looking at it under a microscope. This helps discover any abnormal cells or an issue with the production of WBCs in the bone marrow.

Some of the most common treatment options:

  • Changing medications to prevent reactions to certain drugs
  • Antihistamines for allergic reactions
  • Inhalers for asthma
  • Antibiotics for viral or bacterial infections
  • Cancer treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, or stem cell transplants for leukemia
  • Medications to treat stress or anxiety
  • Treatment for inflammatory conditions

I also wrote a tutorial on Covid Vaccine for Asthma Patients that you can follow.

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Prevention

Here are several ways that you can prevent leukocytosis, including:

  • Having a healthy, active lifestyle
  • Maintaining proper hygiene and handwashing to prevent infection
  • Avoiding possible allergens
  • Not smoking
  • Taking medications for any health conditions as directed by your doctor
  • Reducing stress levels
  • Seeking treatment for anxiety or mental health issues

I recommend you to read following posts that will help you: What Is A Balanced Diet?

Here are some frequently asked questions regarding White blood cells count .Before posting your query, kindly go through them:

Frequently Asked question

What is a dangerous white blood cell count?

The exact threshold for a high white blood cell count varies from one laboratory to another. In general, for adults a count of more than 11,000 white blood cells (leukocytes) in a microliter of blood is considered a high white blood cell count.

What is a dangerous low white blood cell count?

If the neutrophil count is very low, fewer than 500 neutrophils in a microliter of blood, it is called severe neutropenia. When the neutrophil count gets this low, even the bacteria normally living in a person’s mouth, skin, and gut can cause serious infections.

What is the most common reason for low white blood cell count?

A low white blood cell count usually is caused by: Viral infections that temporarily disrupt the work of bone marrow. Certain disorders present at birth (congenital) that involve diminished bone marrow function. Cancer or other diseases that damage bone marrow.

How to increase white blood cell count?

Lean meats, such as fish, eggs seafood, and skinless poultry contain high quantities of protein. Great plant based sources include lentils, beans and soy. Zinc is one of the best foods to increase white blood cells you can consume as it can help the body produce more WBCs and makes existing WBCs more aggressive.

Conclusion

A higher white blood cell count is not always infectious, though this is the most common cause. Many other conditions can lead to a higher-than-normal number of white blood cells.

Stress reaction can cause a high count, and certain drugs, especially steroids, can lead to a higher WBC. In addition, several cancers, such as leukemia, can also show an increased level of WBC.

A doctor should evaluate any higher than normal white blood cell count.

If you see any symptoms related to high white blood cell count, let us know in the comment box. So we can help you

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