Blood cells are produced in the bone marrow and distributed throughout the body. The major function of white blood cells or leukocytes is to protect the body from any foreign particles like bacteria, virus or other micro-organisms. Thus it acts as a defense system protecting your health and preventing you from many foreign invaders and for this reason they are known as disease fighting agents or leucocytes.
WBC Count :
Any blood count test will give you the number of WBC, RBC and platelets in the body. All these elements should be in proper proportion to keep your body healthy. However the number of white blood cell may go down drastically or increase significantly.
Any deviation from the normal range of WBC or RBC can cause problem. Leukocytosis is the medical term given for high white blood cell count. For a healthy adult, count of 4500 – 11,000 leukocytes in 1 microliter of blood is considered to be normal. Anything above this range is indicative of high WBC count. However blood cell count varies with age of the person and size.
There are many factors that can increase the number of white blood cell significantly. It is natural for any person to have increased count of WBC when he/she is having any infectious disease. Drug interaction can cause increase in the production of WBC and weakened immunity or immune disorders can cause sudden increase of WBC.
Certain type of allergic reactions, increased physical stress, injury or trauma, undergoing surgery, and intake of certain medications can increase the WBC count. Pregnant women have more number of WBC in blood as a means of additional protection for the growing fetus. Certain medical conditions like bone marrow disorder, blood cancer, and blood related disorders can vary the count of WBC.
Normally high white blood cell count will not show any symptoms. Often the result is revealed while doing blood culture for some other reason. For people with underlying medical issues, high white blood cell count can cause signs like frequent bruises, repeated infections, increased tiredness, fever, and loss of weight for no apparent reason. You can seek medical care if you have symptoms like chills, fever, extreme tiredness, night sweat and bleeding or bruises which can be due to leukocytosis.
Blood test (routine) can show the elevated count of WBC in blood. Your doctor will order for other tests based on suspicion and culture result. Urine analysis would be done to eliminate presence of infectious organisms. Bone marrow biopsy is done by inserting a small needle into the bone and removing small tissue sample which are tested in the lab. Any blood disorders and cancer can be identified by this test.
- The root cause of the increased WBC in blood is to be found out before giving any treatment.
- Treatment for high WBC is not needed unless the person is having infection or blood disorders.
- For people with infection, suitable antibiotics are given.
- For individuals with bone marrow problems, surgical intervention of new healthy bone marrow is done.
- In case of cancer, suitable treatments like chemo or radiation therapy is given.