The elevation of white blood cells in the blood (leukocytes) is called leukocytosis. Leukocytes are an important component of the human immune system, as they protect the body from various "enemies" and do not allow some harmful cells to multiply.
Why does the analysis sometimes detect elevated leukocytes in the blood? What does this mean, and what are the causes of this condition? Let's try to figure it out.
What are white blood cells for?
The main tasks of white blood cells can be represented as follows:
- They enter the gastrointestinal tract, capture nutrients and transfer them to the blood, which is especially important for newborns who, being breastfed, receive ready-to-change unchanged mother immunoglobulins with milk that can protect a small person from many infections.
- Leukocytes are involved in the formation of cellular and humoral immunity, which is their protective function.
- They destroy various bookmarks that are not needed at all, even in the embryonic period - morphogenetic function.
- Dissolve the damaged tissue and carry out the histolytic task.
A detailed blood test provides for counting not only the total number of leukocytes, but also the percentage of all types of white blood cells in a smear.
The rate of leukocytes in the blood
A blood test for leukocytes is performed to diagnose all sorts of body conditions. The norm of leukocytes in an adult is - 4-8,8 x 109 / l.
In the blood of a child, leukocytes are always significantly elevated. Normally, leukocytes in the blood of newborns are contained in the amount of 9.2-13.8 x 109 / l. Leukocytes in children, the norm from one to three years is 6-17 x 109 / l. Leukocytes in the blood of a child under ten years old are in the norm - 6,1-11,4 х 109 / l.
During pregnancy, as a rule, the level of leukocytes in the blood is elevated, closer to childbirth, this level is generally considered the norm - the greater the load, the higher it is.
When leukocyte elevation can be considered normal
During the day, the number of leukocytes in the blood changes. In some cases, it may even exceed the norm, but there is no point in worrying about it.
Such a leukocytosis is called physiological and its causes can be:
- Stress, serious emotional distress.
- Diet. Some foods can affect white blood cells.
- In the second half of pregnancy, an increase in leukocytes in the blood is also normal.
- Sport and exercise always lead to fluctuations in the level of white blood cells in the blood.
- Stay in hot air conditions. This may be excessive enthusiasm for sunbathing or work environment, for example, in certain production workshops. This can also include a visit to the bath and sauna.
To eliminate the influence of all these factors, a blood test is taken in a calm state in the morning and on an empty stomach. And if your analysis shows a high value, then we are already talking about pathological leukocytosis, that is, associated with the course of a certain disease.
Elevated white blood cells: causes
Why is an adult human leukocyte count increased, and what does it mean? Pathological leukocytosis indicates health problems. Thus, elevated leukocytes in the blood appear as a consequence:
- Any infectious diseases: bronchitis, pneumonia, ARVI, etc.
- Autoimmune diseases, the typical manifestation of which is the recognition of the immune system of its own tissues, as foreign, and the formation of the body's response.
- Chronic inflammatory diseases localized in any organ also give leukocytosis, though not so pronounced, since the body seems to get used and does not fight so actively.
- Acute bacterial infections: cholecystitis, appendicitis, pyelonephritis. As a rule, in this case, the increase occurs due to an increase in neutrophils.
- Allergy - an inadequate reaction of the immune system, accompanied by the synthesis of an increased number of leukocytes and immunoglobulins.
- With the defeat of viruses (rubella, hepatitis, infectious mononucleosis, HIV).
- Elevated white blood cell levels can be observed with severe pain and emotional effects, because white blood cells will not remain indifferent to pain, severe physical and psycho-emotional stress.
- Purulent infections (peritonitis, abscesses) or sepsis can cause very high levels of leukocytes (up to 50x109 / l).
- Oncological processes in various organs and tissues are also often accompanied by a significant increase in the number of leukocytes in the blood.
- Extensive burns and frostbite, in which the skin is not able to maintain barrier function.
- With various types of parasitosis in the blood, an increase in eosinophils is observed (one of the types of white blood cells).
The degree of increase in leukocytes reflects the severity of the disease and depends on age. The rule of treatment of leukocytosis is one - to establish the reason for the increase in the number of leukocytes in the blood and eliminate it.
What are the symptoms?
This condition is often accompanied by the following symptoms:
- malaise, fatigue;
- moderate and high hyperthermia;
- reduced vision, sleep disturbance;
- weight loss and pain in the joints and muscles;
- excessive sweating, dizziness, loss of appetite.
Sometimes leukocytosis can be detected only with the next general blood test. There are a number of poorly studied human conditions in which ESR, leukocytes, and temperature can increase. As a rule, time passes, and all indicators return to normal. There are no manifestations of these deviations from the norm.
How to lower the level of leukocytes in the blood
The procedure for the treatment of leukocytosis is established by the doctor after additional examinations. Therapy, first of all, is directed to the elimination of the factors that provoked an increase in the level of white blood cells. Separate treatment to reduce the level of leukocytes in the blood is not provided.
If the increased number of leukocytes in the blood is caused by physiological reasons (poor diet, pregnancy, overstrain), then in order to reduce it, you need to change your lifestyle:
- eat right.
- more rest.
- avoid hypothermia or overheating in the background of low immunity.
If you identify leukocytosis in any case, you can not self-medicate. This violation may be temporary or indicate serious diseases that require medical intervention, and only a specialist can find out why the number of leukocytes is growing and how to deal with it.