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How to interpret White Blood Cell (WBC) count results?

What is white blood cell (WBC)?

WBC is important part of your defense mechanism produced by bone marrow to fight infections and safeguard your body from invaders like bacteria, viruses, parasites etc. Also known as Leucocytes. There are five types of WBCs :

  • · Neutrophils

  • · Basophils

  • · Eosinophils

  • · Monocytes

  • · Lymphocytes (T cells, B cells, Natural Killer cells)

Electron microscope pic of blue colored white blood cell attacking bacteria called MRSA. Source: CDC, NIAID

What is the normal WBC count range?

3.8 to 10.8 Thousand/microL (may vary among various labs)

What causes high WBC count?

  • · Infection

  • · Inflammation (like lupus, rheumatoid arthritis)

  • · Cigarette smoking

  • · Tissue damage (burns, trauma)

  • · Leukemia or Lymphoma

  • · Medications like steroids, epinephrine, lithium etc.

What causes low WBC count?

  • · Bone marrow problems – infection, cancer

  • · Viral illness

  • · Diseases of liver, spleen

  • · Autoimmune conditions like lupus

  • · Medications like chemotherapy, antibiotics, diuretics (water pills) etc.

This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or re-distributed. This material is informational and does not provide any medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.

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