What are white blood cells of the body? White blood cells or WBC are components found in the blood that carry out a specific function in order to maintain proper health and wellness of the body. WBC or otherwise known as leukocytes are present so as to strengthen the body’s immune system. The WBCs are the ones responsible in defending the body against any bacterial or fungal infections. Aside from this, they are also capable of defending the body against certain types of parasitic infections. The WBCs also take care of the body’s allergic reactions or responses. They are capable of providing proper immunity and they also act as the body’s cleanup crew. However, problems could also be encountered by our WBCs. Because of this, changes in their number or nature could highly be possible. In our body, the normal WBC count is in between the range of 5,000 to 10,000 per microliter of blood. Others can still consider WBC counts like 3,000 and 11,000 as low-normal and high-normal values respectively. However, what does it mean when the WBC counts reaches 14,000 or more? What causes high white blood cell count in the body?
Discovering the Facts about WBC
There are actually several possible reasons as to why such count can be elevated. Usually, the WBC count can be very high due to certain types of diseases. This increase is otherwise known as leukocytosis. Just like what is stated earlier, the normal values for WBC count can vary due to a lot of factors. Some include 10,500 to 11,000 values to be high normal results. This can also depend on the person’s age and as well as gender.
The white blood cells are categorized into 5 subtypes. Each subtype carries a specific function or activity in fighting a disease. When the body is invaded by certain pathogens, the level of each subtype may vary depending on the type of the pathogen that has invaded the system. Nevertheless, high white blood cell count is already considered once there is an increase in one type of the white blood cells.
A high white blood cell count is indicative of a problem in the immune system of the body. This leads to the increase of production of WBCs in order to compensate for the alteration or the complication detected by the body. Aside from these, a disease or a problem in the bone marrow can also cause or lead to abnormal white blood cell production. This is due to the fact that the bone marrow is the location where these WBCs are being produced. Certain types of drugs and medications can likewise affect the production of these cells causing them to increase in number. These drugs include epinephrine and corticosteroids.
Identifying Other Possible Causes of Leukocytosis
Other reasons why white blood cell can increase in number is due to acute lymphocytic leukemia. Acute lymphocytic leukemia or ALL is a type of cancer that lives in the bone marrow and as well as the blood. This is considered a rapidly progressive type of disease wherein children are the most common victims of the condition. However, it is also possible for adults to develop such type of health problem. Aside from ALL, measles is also another infection that can affect the production of WBCs. Measles usually causes problems with the respiratory tract and can be very contagious. This can also exhibit symptoms such as skin rash, sore throat, fever, runny nose, inflamed eyes and cough. In addition to measles, rheumatoid arthritis can also show signs of increase WBC in the body.
Other possible causes of high WBC count include stress (emotional or physical), smoking, tissue damage (especially in burns), severe allergic reactions, whooping cough or pertussis, acute or chronic myelogenous leukemia, tukberculosis, polycythemia vera and myelofibrosis.
These are just some of the common causes of high WBC count in the body. In order for us to detect such increase, doctors will usually recommend blood exams in order to identify the current level or condition of the blood components. Such diagnostic test is called as CBC or the complete blood count. This count can indicate the levels of the blood components in the body such as the RBC, the platelets and as well as the WBC or the leukocytes. This is usually the basis of physicians in order to determine whether or not we are experiencing leukocytosis of the increase of WBC level in the body. Knowing these things is very important since it can help us become aware of the possible problems our body can encounter. In addition, this awareness can likewise prevent us from having serious complications in our health.