What You Should Know About Normal WBC Counts
Normal WBC count, or white blood cell count, is basically a healthy level of white blood cells in your blood. When your WBC is raised or lowered, several health problems may be present and may develop. This article is designed to help you become more familiar with abnormal and normal WBC counts so that you can take a more proactive role in your health.
Please keep in mind that if your doctor has informed you that your WBC count is abnormal, you need to follow his or her directions explicitly in order to maintain decent health levels.
What Are White Blood Cells?
White blood cells are the cells in your body that that help to fight off infections. In addition to this, they also respond and react to the presence of any foreign substances that do not belong inside of you, such as allergens and even a new piercing that hasn’t taken well.
There are several different types of white blood cells: lymphocytes, eosinophils, neutrophils, monocytes, and basophils. Although they work together for the benefit of your body, each type of cell has a designated job, similar to positions on a soccer or football team.
For example, neutrophils act to kill and then digest bacteria that enter your body. Monocytes, although they serve the same purpose, are able to generate quicker and can then last longer than their counterparts. Baso and eosinophils’ jobs are to respond to allergic reactions and any parasitic infections that are taking place in your body. Lastly, lymphocytes protect you by fighting long-term bacterial infections and viral infections that pop up suddenly.
If you are looking at going in for a WBC count, there are some things you might want to know before showing up at the doctor’s office. For starters, unlike many other types of tests, you do not have to fast beforehand. You don’t even have to limit your intake of fluids. You shouldn’t suffer from any side effects, although some people might suffer a mild amount of pain and a possible lasting throbbing sensation at the point of injection. This will go away shortly.
When your phlebotomist draws your blood, the sample will then be sent to a nearby laboratory for processing. At this point, it is out of your hands and your job is to wait as patiently as you can while the results come back.
Typically, normal WBC counts should range between 4,500 – 10,000 white blood cells for every microliter. In addition to this, there are certain ratios of each type of white blood cell that are usually looked for as well to be considered normal or abnormal. Neutrophils should have a 40% - 60% differential. Another 20% - 40% are attributed to lymphocytes. Only 2& - 8% should be monocytes, with eosinophils trailing behind at 1% - 4%. Lastly, only .5% - 1% of your white blood cells should be made of basophils.
There is a chance that your WBC will not come in with normal results. Different levels can mean different things, so be sure to speak to your doctor until you fully understand your results should they be abnormal.
Increased WBC levels, commonly referred to as leukocytosis, generally indicate an inflammation that can be the result of arthritis, allergies, leukemia, anemia, and even severe emotional stress in some cases.
Decreased levels, leucopenia, can be serious as well. These levels may be the result of any of several factors, including dietary deficiency, radiation therapy, congenital marrow hyperplasia, other bone marrow issues, lupus, full body infections, and diseases that affect the liver and the spleen. Calm down though. Your doctor will run further tests to diagnose what is going on with you.