Leukocytes, also referred to as white blood cells (WBCs), are a crucial part of your immune system. Monitoring their levels may provide invaluable insights into your overall health.
Why should we measure leukocytes? The answer lies in their central role in maintaining a balanced immune response. Exhibiting normal leukocyte levels suggests a harmonious state within your immune system. This equilibrium is of utmost importance, as any imbalance could indicate a challenge to your immunity. This could arise from an external source such as an invasive pathogen, or internal changes associated with chronic health conditions.
Therefore, tracking leukocyte counts is in our interest for several compelling reasons, such as:
An elevation in the count of white blood cells can serve as an indicator of an infection.
Monitoring Chronic Diseases
Specific chronic ailments can influence both the count and functionality of white blood cells.
Evaluating the Immune System
Assessing white blood cells, in conjunction with other types of blood cells, can assist in comprehending the overall health of your immune system. Monitoring and Evaluating Side Effects
Monitoring and Evaluating Side Effects
Certain medications, such as chemotherapy, suppress the production of white blood cells. Regular monitoring can aid in preventing severe side effects and guiding treatment choices.
Tracking and Monitoring Biological Age According to the Levine Clock
Leukocytes, also recognised as white blood cells, are absolutely indispensable for the immune system. Leukocytes are one of the numerous types of blood cells in our bodies, continuously produced in the bone marrow due to their brief lifespan. They are stored in both the blood and lymph tissues, playing a pivotal role in our body's defense mechanism.
Neutrophils are the most abundant of all white blood cells.
Lymphocytes assist in identifying and eliminating viruses, bacteria, and abnormal cells. There are two primary types of lymphocytes: T-cells and B-cells.
Monocytes aid in recognising and annihilating foreign substances and cancerous cells.
Eosinophils are involved in allergic responses and defense against parasitic infections.
Basophils release histamine and other substances in response to allergens, playing a role in inflammatory responses.
High levels of white blood cells, known as leukocytosis, can indicate various medical conditions. To determine the specific condition(s), it is important to identify which types of white blood cells are elevated. When your body senses something abnormal, it produces and sends more white blood cells to the affected area. This response is commonly triggered by inflammation and infection as a defense mechanism against invaders. Stress, medications, injuries, or side effects can also lead to an increase in leukocytes. Additionally, certain types of cancer can cause elevated levels of leukocytes. These conditions are often accompanied by additional symptoms and abnormal test results. If your levels are elevated, a doctor will consider your symptoms, medical history, and results of a physical examination to determine if further investigation is necessary.
A low level of white blood cells in your blood test indicates leukopenia, which refers to a decreased concentration of circulating white blood cells in your bloodstream. Low levels of white blood cells can increase the risk of infections. The severity of your symptoms depends on the underlying cause, as well as the duration and extent of the decrease.
Leukopenia can stem from two main categories of causes:
Inability to produce sufficient amounts of white blood cells.
Increased destruction of white blood cells, surpassing the rate at which new white blood cells are produced.
Infections and treatments like chemotherapy and radiation therapy are common examples that can suppress the immune system. In addition to these, deficiencies in nutrients such as folate, B12, and copper can weaken the immune system's resilience to infections. In rarer cases, autoimmune disorders and bone marrow disorders can also lead to decreased levels of leukocytes. However, these disorders and conditions are typically accompanied by additional symptoms and abnormal test results.
If your white blood cell count is elevated, it is important to address the underlying cause in order to normalize your levels. The following interventions can be beneficial:
Treating the underlying infection: If your elevated white blood cell count is due to an infection, appropriate treatment targeted at the specific infection can help bring your levels back to normal.
Correcting nutritional deficiencies: In cases where deficiencies in nutrients like folate, B12, or copper are contributing to high leukocyte levels, addressing these deficiencies through dietary changes or supplements can be helpful.
Managing autoimmune disorders: If an autoimmune disorder is the underlying cause, working closely with your healthcare provider to develop a treatment plan that may include medications or lifestyle modifications can help regulate your immune response and reduce leukocyte levels.
Adjusting medications: Certain medications can cause an increase in white blood cells. If this is the case, your healthcare provider may consider adjusting your medications or exploring alternative options.
Important note: It is worth mentioning that abnormally low levels of white blood cells can also indicate underlying disease and should be addressed accordingly.
Low: Below 3.5 (x 10^9/L)
Normal: 3.5-8.8 (x 10^9/L)
High: Above 8.8 (x 10^9/L)