What is White Blood Cell Count?
The white blood cells in the body have a vital role just like any other part of the body. The test for measuring white blood cells is often included as a part of complete blood count.
The test measures the number of white blood cells. The white blood cell types are contained in different percentages in the body. The cells can either increase or decrease because of some reason sometimes. Therefore, it is important to take care of the complete blood count if you are having an infection.
Doctors often prescribe the test when an infection is suspected in the body. The test helps to diagnose a medical condition that is indicated by various symptoms. It also helps to know whether treatment is working for conditions such as chemotherapy, cancer, and radiation.
What Does White Blood Cell Count Mean?
A healthy white blood cell count means that the body is safe from virus and infections. The count should be within the normal range as a decrease or increase can be an indicator that something is wrong. The white blood cells have an important role in the body. The white blood cells fight off infections and protect the overall immune system.
White Blood Cell Types
The white blood cells protect your body from bacteria. They are found in the bloodstream and circulate throughout the body. The bone marrow is where these cells originate and circulate from. The five types of white blood cells are neutrophils, lymphocytes, eosinophils, monocytes, and basophils. All these are the major type of cells that play a vital role in the body.
What is the Normal Range for White Blood Cell Count?
The white blood cells in newborn babies are higher than adults. The number gradually increases as baby ages. Normal ranges for different age groups give an idea about your overall health. Newborns are born with a range of 9000 to 30,000 white blood cells per microliter of blood. Children under the age of 2 have 6200 to 17,000 white blood cells per microliter of blood.
Children over the age of 2 have white blood cells ranging from 5000 to 10,000 per microliter of blood. The range is the same for adults. These ranges can vary although they are similar. The measurement scales can also vary in units. The overall count is made up of the different types of white blood cells. The underlying condition can be indicated by the varying numbers of white blood cells.
What are the Symptoms of Abnormal White Blood Cell Count?
White blood cell count can vary if the health condition is not good. The count will also give you an indicator through symptoms if you are having an infection. The common symptoms of white blood cells include body aches, fever, chills, and headaches. Low count usually causes these symptoms although they may differ with those of high count of white blood cells. The symptoms prompt doctors to prescribe you a test to measure the count. A physical examination can also help a doctor diagnose the overall health condition.
What to Expect?
It is always better to know what to expect when you are prescribed with a test. Blood is drawn with the help of a needle from a vein. The test takes a few minutes and usually does not cause discomfort. The arm is cleaned with an alcohol swab to kill any germs. An elastic is wrapped around the arm to make veins prominent and fill the vein. The needle is then inserted to draw blood for the test.
The method can differ for young children as a puncture ensures that blood can be taken out first.
Are there any Complications of Abnormal White Blood Cell Count?
There may be complications with the test although the test is very simple and common. The complications are rare though. However, it is difficult to take blood from people having smaller veins. Moving the needle to find the vein can be painful for some people. The stinging sensation is what causes pain and make people reluctant from having their blood draw for a test.
The complications resulting from the blood test are an infection, excessive bleeding, fainting, and internal bleeding within the skin. The infection resulting from a blood test is rare although it can be expected.
How to Prepare for the Test?
The blood test does not require any special preparation. You can either walk in the lab to have your blood drawn anytime or take an appointment if that is the requirement of the lab.
White Blood Cell Count Result – What Does it Mean?
The blood test results can vary if you have a medical condition. Medications can also interfere with the results as they interfere with the drug effects on your body. The common drugs that can have an effect on your body and the test results are heparin, antibiotics, quinidine, clozapine, diuretics, antihistamines, sulfonamides, and anticonvulsants.
Can You Increase White Blood Cells through Food?
It is important that you understand what the blood test results mean. At least having an idea about the results and the normal range can help you evaluate what your health condition is. An abnormal reading can indicate that you have a blood disorder. However, it should be noted that the medical condition can also make the results vary. There are factors that affect the results such as age, medicines, and medical history.
However, foods cannot increase the number of white blood cells as it requires proper treatment if needed. Research has concluded the fact that no foods can actually have an effect on white blood cell production. Still, it is recommended to include protein containing amino acids in your regular diet. This can have a positive impact on the production of white blood cells. Amino acids help to build these cells.
Role of Multivitamins and Mineral Supplements
A multivitamin supplement containing vitamin b12 and folate can help to increase the production of white blood cells. Moreover, foods containing zinc, vitamin C, vitamin E, and selenium will also increase the number of white blood cells in the body.
It is advised that you consult a doctor before taking any supplements as your medical condition needs to be assured for the safety of there intake. Cancer treatment does not allow patients to take any additional supplements as it may interfere with the results.
Overall, white blood cells are important for the body’s ability to fight off infections. Any abnormalities in the number of white blood cells will result in symptoms of imbalance. It is important to have the levels balanced through proper diagnosis and treatment.