White blood cells or Leukocytes, help to protect our body from various infections and diseases. It is a part of our immune system. They circulate through our tissues and bloodstream to react to illness and injury and stop unknown organisms from entering our bodies. Our WBCs account for only 1 percent of our blood but it has a major impact on our body.
Overview: White Blood Cells
White blood cells are like immunity cells, they are constantly at war fighting with viruses and infections in your body. They flow through our bloodstream to protect us from various bacteria, viruses, and other harmful invaders that can affect our health.
When our body is suffering or in pain or a particular area is experiencing problems, WBCs rush in to protect us and destroy the harmful substances. They are made in the bone marrow and typically stored in the lymph tissues and our blood.
Five types of white blood cells
- Basophils: Produce an allergic response runny nose, coughing, and sneezing.
- Eosinophils: They identify and destroy the parasites and help basophils with allergic reactions.
- Neutrophils: They help to protect your body from viruses by killing fungi and bacteria.
- Lymphocytes: Natural killer cells, T and B cells are all Lymphocytes. They create antibodies to fight against viruses, bacteria, and other potential invaders that can affect your body.
- Monocytes: They protect our body against viruses by breaking down fungi and bacteria.
In some cases, there are either too many or little WBCs, which leads to white blood cell disorders namely Leukocytosis and Leukopenia respectively. Some of the major symptoms of these disorders are fever, fatigue, dizziness, sweating, body aches, cough, trouble breathing etc.
Your doctor may tell you to have a WBC blood test if you are facing these symptoms. A medical professional will draw your blood and will send it to a lab for a CBC (complete blood count).
Your white blood cell count is one of the figures you get from this test. Also, the test will come along with your platelet count and your red blood cell count. WBC blood test will tell whether you have high (leukocytosis) or low (leukopenia) WBC.
What is the Normal Range of White Blood Cells?
Every lab will have its own count of normal-range white blood cells, known as the reference range. Typically, the normal range is 4000-11000 per microliter of blood. However, it can vary depending on the lab. The range can also vary depending on the sex, race, and age of the person getting the test. Here are some normal WBC range, including:
- People with male anatomy: 5,000-10,000 white blood cells
- Women’s anatomy: 4,500-11,000 WBCs
- Children: 5,000-10,000
White Blood Cell Disorders: Causes and Treatment
Causes of White Blood Cell Disorders
Leukopenia/ Low White Blood Cell Count:
Low white blood cells are also called Leukopenia. If a person’s body is producing low WBCs, several conditions may be causing it, including:
- Bone marrow ailments
- Leukemia (cancer of the blood)
- Autoimmune disorders such as HIV and Lupus
- Lymphoma (a cancer of the lymphatic system)
- Damage of bone marrow, such as from radiation therapy, exposure to toxins, and chemotherapy
- Lack of Vitamin B12
- Sepsis (a dangerous reaction from your immune system to an infection)
Leukocytosis/ High White Blood Cell Count:
A high WBC count is also known as Leukocytosis. This is a condition when a person produces a high white blood count more than it should be. The following medical conditions may indicate a high white blood cell count:
- Infections, such as viruses, parasites, bacteria, or fungi
- Allergic reactions due to an asthma attack
- Leukemia (blood cancer)
- Those that cause the cells to die, such as trauma, burns, and heart attack
- Inflammatory disorders include vasculitis, rheumatoid arthritis, and inflammatory bowel disease.
Common Treatments for White Blood Cell Disorders
The treatment for WBC conditions varies based on the seriousness or diagnosis of the condition. The treatment ranges from:
- Taking antibiotics and vitamins
- Blood transfusion
- Surgery to repair or replace the bone marrow
- Stem cell transplant
White blood cells help to fight against bacteria, viruses, or any other illness in our body. You can keep your WBC healthy by taking several vitamins to boost the working of your immune system. Practicing good hygiene will also help you fight against infections. If you are experiencing any signs like chills, fever, difficulty in breathing, frequent cough, or infection, contact your doctor to test if your WBC count is normal or not.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):
Q. How can I increase my white blood cells?
Ans. A body uses material from the food’s protein to make new white blood cells. You can take supplements or multivitamins with folate and vitamin B-12.
Q. What happens if white blood cells are high?
Ans. High white blood cells are called Leukocytosis, which simply means that you have an inflammation or infection in your body.
Q. What happens if white blood cells are low?
Ans. Low white blood cells are known as Leukopenia, meaning you are at higher risk of developing an infection.
Q. What level of WBC is alarming?
Ans. The WBC count varies from individual to individual. However, a high WBC is usually considered anything above 11,000 cells.