Elevated blood leukocytes: what does it mean?

Elevated white blood cell count is often an indication that the body needed additional protection from alien introduction. The number of white blood cells to judge the presence in the body of the inflammatory process and the degree of its severity. However, in rare cases, the increase in white blood cells indicates the development of cancer. That is why each person should know what they are talking about leukocyte indicators.

What are leukocytes and what are their age norm?

White blood cells — «guards» of human health. They have the ability to detect damage quickly, to localize and neutralize «enemies.» The leukocyte count changes with age (х109/l):

  • newborn — 7,0 – 24,5;
  • for 1 year 6,0 – 17,5;
  • to 6 years — 5,0 – 15,5;
  • 16 years — 4,5 – 13,5;
  • a 21-year — 4,5 – 11,0;
  • women have a 4.0 and 10.4;
  • men — 4,2 – 9,0;
  • older the 3.7 – to 9.0.

The upper limit of age WBC count indicates leukocytosis.

Leukocytosis: what does it mean?

Leukocytosis is not always a pathological deviation in the blood that indicate a change of certain processes in the body. For physiological leukocytosis is characteristic of a slight increase in leukocytes on 2 – 3 thousand, and the change in the blood is temporary. If leukocytes are increased by 5 – 20 thousand, it is a clear indication of any pathological process in the body, sometimes asymptomatic. If the leukocyte level increased by hundreds of thousands of units — this is a very serious sign, often indicating a blood cancer: leukemia or leukemia.

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What occurs to the physiological leukocytosis?

The high content of leukocytes may be caused by physiological factors such as:

  • prolonged exposure to the sun;
  • heavy exercise, sports;
  • the high motor activity of the child;
  • explosive emotional reaction out of stress;
  • Smoking;
  • food rich in chemical additives and animal products (meat);
  • certain medications — corticosteroids, and even the usual Biseptol;
  • premenstrual period in women;
  • pregnancy, especially in the later stages;
  • climate change — the body has no time to adapt to the rapidly changing conditions of the external environment.
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Organic causes of elevation

White blood cells can be significantly high, and their number has long held high value for the following reasons:

  • Infection

Any introduction of an organism by foreign microorganisms immediately manifested by leukocytosis. Such a deviation in the blood is observed in viral (influenza, SARS, scarlet fever, hepatitis) and bacterial attacks (bronchitis, tonsillitis). This performance is significantly increased early in the disease, and then gradually come back to normal after 1 – 2 weeks after the treatment and complete elimination of disease symptoms. Persistent leukocytosis often accompanies chronic foci of infection — tonsillitis, chronic cystitis, cholecystitis, and candidiasis (thrush), etc.

  • Inflammation

Leukocytosis, sometimes quite strong, is observed in inflammatory processes developing in different organs and systems. Indicators of white blood cells increased arthritis, cholecystitis and adnexitis. Appendicitis leukocytosis is 23 – 25х109/l indicates acute inflammation requiring immediate treatment. A similar blood picture is observed in myocardial infarction: necrosis of the myocardium requires the clearance of dead cells white blood cells.

  • Skin damage

Even ordinary pain requires leukocyte clearance. Severe reaction of the immune forces, and increase in white blood cells by stimulating the synthesis of new cells is observed for burns, fractures and extensive wounds.
Повышенные в крови лейкоциты: что это значит?

  • Allergic reaction

The ingestion of foreign proteins acting as a sensitizer, almost instantly provokes an increased production of white blood cells. The same reaction is observed in parasitic diseases. Worms in children — a common cause of leukocytosis.

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  • Anemia

Reduced red blood cells in the blood are often combined with elevated white blood cells. Such changes are characteristic of loss of blood, when the bone marrow starts working harder and producing new red cells, and leukocytes.

  • Endocrine diseases

Hormonal disorders affect the entire body, including the composition of blood. For example, hypothyroidism is accompanied by persistent leukocytosis, and negative effects in long-term hormonal substitution.

  • Pathology of the spleen
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Damage to the spleen leads to accumulation in the blood of old white blood cells. It is the spleen responsible for their disposal. Elevated levels of characteristic leukocytes after splenectomy.

  • Autoimmunity

At enough understood today reasons sometimes the immune system fails and perceives the cells as foreign. In the end, suffer from an autoimmune attack of different organs and systems, and doctors diagnose difficult to treat rheumatoid lesion, psoriasis or red lupus.

  • Oncology

Blood cancer — leukemia, leukaemia — give the most severe changes in the blood. Severe leukocytosis in this case reaches 300х109/l with periods of sharp decline to 0,1х109/L.

What do different types of leukocytes?

To identify the cause of leukocytosis doctors often prescribe a detailed study of blood with determination of the leukocyte formula. It reflects the variety of white blood cells that have certain functions in building immune protection. All of them form a single system «defense», the violation of which at a certain stage characteristic of certain diseases.

  • Neutrophils

Повышенные в крови лейкоциты: что это значит?
This is the «advanced group» of the immune system: neutrophils are the first to localize the focus of inflammation and fight the damaging toxins and microbes. The majority of neutrophils deposited in the tissues and enters the blood only when damage healthy cells. However, their number in the blood at lightning speed is increased 5 – 10 times. Neutrophilic leukocytosis is characteristic for infections and inflammatory processes.

  • Monocytes

«The second unit» fight against infectious invasion. The bactericidal capacity of monocytes is even higher than that of neutrophils. These cells are designed to release the area of inflammation from dead cells. Their levels in the blood — 2 – 10%. Persistent monocytosis is a serious signal that often accompanies the development of cancer.

  • Eosinophils

Their main task — the destruction of the alien protein fractions and neutralization of toxins. In the blood there may be 0 – 5%. Eosinophils characteristic of allergic reactions, malaria and intestinal parasites.

  • Basophils

Small leukocyte group (only 0 – 1%), which has vasodilator and healing properties. Basophilic leukocytosis is characteristic for severe allergic conditions, anaphylactic shock, bronchial asthma. The increase in basophils was observed during pregnancy, ulcerative colitis and myxedema.

  • Lymphocytes
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«Old-timers» of the blood: lymphocytes live for decades and are responsible for the accumulation of memory. They are responsible for the recognition of their own and foreign cells, the reaction of sensitization against foreign proteins and destroy mutated cells. They also synthesize antibodies and provide humoral immunity. In their blood contains 20 to 40%.

The symptoms accompanying leukocytosis

The clinical picture of leukocytosis happy blurred and is the reason for the deviation of blood parameters. In all diseases accompanied by leucocytosis, observed:

  • temperature rise;
  • sweating, dizziness;
  • fatigue, joint and muscle pain;
  • weight loss.


Physiological leukocytosis does not require drug therapy. For elimination of the provoking factor blood counts normalized quickly. Special attention deserves the high leukocytosis. Urgent medical consultation is mandatory when the leukocyte indicator from 100х109/l!

The main direction with a significant leukocyte indicators — identify the causes of the violation and its effective elimination. In most cases, the doctor prescribes anti-bacterial or anti-viral drugs, able to quickly neutralize the infection and resolve inflammation. The choice of drugs depends on the identified pathogen, its sensitivity to certain antibiotics and age of the patient. However, even after a full anti-inflammatory treatment, the WBC count gradually normalized.

Treatment for leukocytosis is appointed only by the doctor in identifying the survey why there was leukocytosis! Self-administration of drugs is fraught with persistent impaired function of bone marrow and failure of the different components of immunity