A white blood cell count is a part of another common type of blood test known as the complete blood count. A white blood cell count is often referred to as a white count or a leukocyte count.
One of the primary functions of the white blood cells if to alleviate the inflammation in the body. A blood test that reveals a high concentration of white blood cells indicates the presence of inflammation somewhere or in some parts of the body. For example, individuals who have the inflammatory bowel disease can have a high white blood cell count of the gastrointestinal tract.
A white blood cell count can be explained as the number of white blood cells in a particular volume of blood. It can be reported either as millions per liter of blood or as thousands per micro liter of blood.
The use of white blood cell count
A high white blood cell count could point to the presence of an allergy, an infection or an inflammation. In addition, there are some medical complications that may result in lowering of the white blood cell count.
A condition, wherein there is existence of elevated levels of white blood cells, is called leukocytosis. On the other hand, leucopenia means a decrease in the white blood cell count.
Stress, leukemia, bacterial infection, trauma, inflammation and several other disorders can lead to leukocytosis. The presence of immune system disorders or treatment methods such as chemotherapy and radiation therapy can eventually cause leucopenia
The doctor will usually take a sample of blood from the arm to conduct a white blood cell count. In case, there a number of tests that need to be performed, then a lot more blood will be taken for diagnosis.
Normal range of white blood cell count
- The normal range of white blood cell count is around 4300 to 10,800 per cmm OR 4.3 to 10.8 x 109 cells per liter
- The abbreviation cmm stands for cubic millimeter.
- A white blood cell within the range of 11 to 17 x 109 cells per liter can be medically termed as moderate or mild leukocytosis, whereas a range of 3.0 to 5.0×109 cells per liter can be termed as moderate leucopenia.
Description of the blood cells
There are several facts listed below for a better understanding of the blood cells, their functionalities, etc.
- There are three types of blood cells that are produced by the body. They are known as platelets, the white blood cells and the red blood cells.
- The main task of the red blood cells is the transportation of oxygen to the various tissues and organs of the body.
- Platelets have the job of clotting blood, thereby preventing excessive blood loss.
- White blood cells form a part of the defense mechanism of the body. They actively work to defend the body against the many infections. They are also called leukocytes
- A single drop of blood can contain as many as 7500 to 26000 white blood cells.
- When any germs or microorganisms invade the body, there is a considerable rise in the number of white blood cells. Hence, one may note that most of the healthy individuals only have around one to two percent of white blood cells in the blood, while individuals who are affected from medical conditions tend to have significantly higher percentage of white blood cells in the blood.
White blood cell count normal range: An explanation
- There are five types of white blood cells that are known as neutrophils, monocytes, basophils, eosinophils and lymphocytes. They are a part of two main groups called the mononuclear cells and the granulocytes.
- Men, women and children all have the same range of normal white blood cell count. However, the normal range may change in case of pregnant women.
- Infants have the maximum range of normal white blood cell count which is around nine thousand to thirty thousand cells per micro liter of blood.
The normal range values of the different types of white blood cell count are as follows:
- Total Count = 4,500 to 10,000 cells per mcL
- Count of lymphocytes = 1,500 to 3,000 cells mcL
- Count of eosinophils = 50 to 250 cells mcL
- Count of neutrophils = 2,500 to 6,000 cells mcL
- Count of monocytes = 300 to 500 cells mcL
- Count of basophils = 15 to 50 cells per mcL
- The abbreviation mcL denotes micro liter
Reasons for high white blood cell count
- A white blood cell count of more than ten thousand cells per mcL is considered high. It may differ as per sex and age.
- It can be caused due to infection, malfunction of bone marrow, autoimmune disorders and intake of certain drugs.
Reasons for low white blood cell count
- A white blood cell count of more than four thousand five hundred cells per mcL is considered low. It may differ as per sex and age.
- It can be caused due to any damage to the bone marrow that may result from cancers, viral infections, drugs, birth defects and autoimmune disorders.