Leukocytosis

Leukocytosis and skin infections

Last Updated December 20th, 2021

Leukocytosis is the condition where the number of WBC in the blood increase beyond a given threshold. This is generally the body’s response to an infection or inflammation. However, the increase in leukocyte count can also occur as a result of malignancy or cancer onset. When the symptoms of leukocytosis are severe, they can increase the thickness of the blood to the extent that it doesn't circulate normally. Pregnancy can also cause the WBC count to become high.
The early signs and symptoms of leukocytosis are fever and pain at the site of infection. People tend to get bruised easily, experience sudden weight loss, and even have night sweats. There might be skin rashes or hives all over the skin. Many experience difficulty in breathing and wheezing, similar to that of an allergic reaction.
Leukocytosis is defined as the condition where the WBC count of the blood is extremely high. WBC or white blood cells form your body’s immune system. Anytime there is an infection or inflammation, these are dispatched to the said location in the body to fight the microbes. There are 5 different types of WBCS- monocytes, lymphocytes, neutrophiles, basophils, and eosinophils. Increase in the count in any of these results in leukocytosis.
Neutrophils are a component of the WBCs. Around half of all WBCs are ,in fact, neutrophils. These cells can travel freely to any part of the body, unlike other components of WBCs which have some restrictions. They can even enter the veins and attack disease-causing pathogens.

Overview of leukocytosis

Human blood is formed of different components, of which red blood cells (RBC), white blood cells (WBC) and platelets are the most important ones. Alterations in the count of any of these may lead to diseases that are not easily curable. Past incidences have shown that some of these diseases may even progress to cancer. Leukocytosis is one such disease where the white blood cell count is abnormally high. Anyone type of white blood cell may rise in number under this condition. In future, it may even result in a type of malignancy which is known as Leukaemia.

 

What is leukocytosis?

Leukocytosis WBCsIn medical terms, leukocytosis is a rise in the number of leukocytes or white blood cells much above the normal value. In the moderate conditions, it is simply an inflammatory response to an infection. Any of the five types of leukocytes namely- neutrophil, lymphocyte, monocyte, eosinophil, and basophil can increase in number in this medical condition. A left upper shift in the ratio of immature to mature neutrophils and macrophages occurs mainly when the neutrophil count rises. On the other hand, a reduced count of the newly formed neutrophils (metamyelocytes) is referred to as a right shift in the ratio of immature to mature neutrophils. A leukocyte count of above 25-30 x 109 / L is observed on a blood smear test.

 

What causes leukocytosis?

Leukocytosis mainly results from serious infections, though there can be other factors as well. The general factors are listed below-

  • DNA damage: Destruction or mutation of DNA of White Blood Cells due to various factors cause activation of oncogenes (cancerous genes) and deactivation of tumor suppressor genes (cancer-preventing genes) and lead to a rise in WBC.
  • Radiation: Unprotected exposure to harmful radiations (ionizing or non-ionizing) during different diagnostic tests such as imaging, or radiotherapy to treat existing diseases can lead to leukocyte imbalance in future.
  • Chemicals: Toxicity induced by certain chemicals such as benzene, mercury, cadmium etc can cause a rise in WBC count in patients who are exposed to these chemicals on a regular basis (due to occupational hazards).
  • Viral infections: Past infection with Human T-cell Lymphoma Virus-1 (HTLV-1) can cause lymphocytic leukemia.
  • Heredity: Certain inherited syndromes such as Down syndrome, Klinefelter syndrome or Neurofibromatosis can predispose an individual to Leukocytosis.
  • Auto-immune disorders: Immune suppression can lead to abnormal cell growth within the body, increasing the risks of Leukocytosis.
  • Blood disorders: Certain blood diseases such as Thrombocythemia and Myelofibrosis increase the possibilities of Acute Myeloid Leukemia.
  • Substance abuse: Addictive habits like excessive cigarette smoking or alcoholism can damage different organs of the body leading to Leukocytosis.

Leukocytosis and infectionsSome other causes of the disease may include

  • Bone tumors
  • Rigorous exercise
  • Mental and physical stress
  • Epileptic fits
  • Epinephrine administration
  • Pregnancy and labor
  • Anesthesia
  • Exposure to electromagnetic radiation (due to proximity to power grids)
  • Direct contact with harmful chemicals such as diesel, gasoline or pesticides

 

What are the warning signs and symptoms?

Leukocytosis generally presents with the following symptoms-

  • Abdominal swelling due to aggregation of white blood cells in the spleen and liver
  • Swollen lymph nodes due to spread of cancerous cells in those regions
  • Acute joint pain due to an accumulation of leukocytes on the bone surface
  • Shortness of breath due to spread of white blood cells to the lungs and bronchi
  • A headache, fatigue, seizures, nausea, vomiting, vision impairment and overall body imbalance due to an intrusion of the abnormal white blood cells into the Central Nervous System
  • Frequent bleeding from the nose and gums
  • Frequent bruising which takes a long time to heal
  • Perspirations at night
  • Fever and general body ache
  • Loss of appetite and abnormal weight loss
  • Persistent infections
  • Minute reddish spots under the skin
  • Abnormal hair loss

What are the different types of leukocytosis?

Based on which leukocyte is affected, the disease is categorized into five types-

Neutrophilia: It is marked by an increase in the count of neutrophil granulocytes in the blood. This condition may arise from-

  • Serious bacterial infections (pyogenic infections)
  • Sterile inflammation (tissue necrosis, myocardial infarctions, burns)

Eosinophilia: In this condition, the eosinophil count in the blood (peripheral blood) rises above 4.5 x 108/L. The main causes are-

  • Allergic disorders (Asthma, Hay fever, Drug allergies, Pemphigus, Dermatitis)
  • Eosinophilic esophagitis or gastroenteritis
  • Malignancies (Leukaemia, Hodgkin’s and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma)
  • Cholesterol embolism

Basophilia: This is a condition marked by an increase in the count of basophil in the blood (more than 1010 basophils per liter of blood). Constant itching (Pruritis) occurs due to the release of histamine.

Monocytosis: The number of monocytes in the blood rises above 950 / µL. The main causes of monocytosis are-

Lymphocytosis: As implied by the name, it is an increase in the count of lymphocytes in the circulating bloodstream. A lymphocyte count greater than 4000/ µL (in adults) and 7000 / µL in children indicates Lymphocytosis.

 

Diagnostic Tests

The patients are advised to get the following diagnostic tests done-

  • Blood tests (complete blood count and coagulation tests)
  • Bone marrow tests (bone marrow aspiration and biopsy)
  • Chromosome testing (to detect chromosomal aberrations)
  • Lumbar puncture (to detect the spread of cancer cells into the brain and spinal cord)
  • Lymph node biopsy
  • Imaging tests ( X-rays, CT scan, MRI scan)

 

Treatment and Prevention

Leukocytosis and skin infectionsThe treatment of leukocytosis is administered through:

  • IV fluids which replenish electrolytes
  • Medications usually comprising of antibiotics and steroids to reduce inflammation.
  • Complete or partial blood transfusion
  • Reduction of leukocytes
  • Bone marrow transplant

There are several healthy lifestyle habits that can reduce your risk of developing leukocytosis. These include:

  • Negligible or no alcohol consumption.
  • Avoiding reheating of food in a microwave oven.
  • Reduction in refined sugar consumption in the form of processed foods and aerated drinks.
  • Consuming a diet rich in antioxidants and vitamin C.

 

 

Facts

  • Certain medications which are used in the treatment of inflammations, mental disorders, respiratory issues, or cancer can cause the WBC count to surge.
  • The process used to decrease the WBC count is known is leukapheresis. In this, the blood is drawn from IV, WBCs are removed, and then the blood is again supplied back to the patient.

Facts

  • WBCs make up only 1% of our bloodstream. Our body produces 100 billion WBCs every day.
  • A healthy adult should have 4,000-11,000 WBC count/ mL of blood.

Facts

  • There are 5 types of WBCs – monocytes, lymphocytes, neutrophils, basophils, and eosinophils.
  • If an adult has more than 30,000 WBC count in 1 cc. of blood, it may be indicative of leukemia or blood cancer.

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Leukocytosis is the condition where the number of WBC in the blood increase beyond a given threshold. This is generally the body’s response to an infection or inflammation. However, the increase in leukocyte count can also occur as a result of malignancy or cancer onset. When the symptoms of leukocytosis are severe, they can increase the thickness of the blood to the extent that it doesn't circulate normally. Pregnancy can also cause the WBC count to become high.
The early signs and symptoms of leukocytosis are fever and pain at the site of infection. People tend to get bruised easily, experience sudden weight loss, and even have night sweats. There might be skin rashes or hives all over the skin. Many experience difficulty in breathing and wheezing, similar to that of an allergic reaction.
Leukocytosis is defined as the condition where the WBC count of the blood is extremely high. WBC or white blood cells form your body’s immune system. Anytime there is an infection or inflammation, these are dispatched to the said location in the body to fight the microbes. There are 5 different types of WBCS- monocytes, lymphocytes, neutrophiles, basophils, and eosinophils. Increase in the count in any of these results in leukocytosis.
Neutrophils are a component of the WBCs. Around half of all WBCs are ,in fact, neutrophils. These cells can travel freely to any part of the body, unlike other components of WBCs which have some restrictions. They can even enter the veins and attack disease-causing pathogens.

 

Dos and Don'ts

Dos
  • Anti-oxidant rich food, i.e, foods containing vitamin C and E are best for controlling WBC counts in leukocytosis patients.
  • Consume more of mono-unsaturated fats and foods low on glycemic index.
  • If a person with leukocytosis experiences sudden weight loss, persistent nausea, or a high-grade fever, he/she should visit the doctor immediately.
Don'ts
  • Go for a blood test for checking the WBC count just after performing physical exercises. Exercising increases WBC count.
  • Expose yourself to specific allergens (dust, pollen etc) because allergic reactions cause the WBCs to increase rapidly.
  • Consume dairy products, packaged and processed goods, alcohol, and artificial sweeteners.

 

 

 

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Beta 2 Glycoprotein 1 IgG Beta 2 glycoprotein 1 antibody test involves detecting and measuring the presence of the IgG class of beta…
cystatin C
Cystatin C Test Cystatin C is a specific single-chain protein that is found in body fluids and is a biomarker for…
eating disorder anorexia
Eating Disorders: Lifestyle choice or a psychological condition? Is eating disorder just a harmless bad habit? Or does it represent grim psychological disorders? Do you want…
carrageenan seaweed
Carrageenan: How a simple seaweed extract could better your gut health & immunity Eat more ice cream to prevent cold and flu? –With carrageenan you get one simple seaweed extract that…
Jack in the box fast food
Jack In the Box : The perils of surging fast food culture in the USA Jack in the Box - How a culture of fast-food can clog your arteries, weaken your heart, fatten…
Garlic health benefits cloves
Garlic: Nature’s white pill as an effective home remedy What are the secrets hidden in these tiny white pills? Find out the immense health benefits of using…
Cordyceps: How the Caterpillar fungus works as a proven cancer-shield Strange as it may sound, but cordyceps or "caterpillar fungus", a fungus variety native to the Himalayas may…
GM Diet: The fastest way to lose weight or yet another hoax diet? General Motors started this trend of extreme dieting for 7 straight days to ensure its employees were able…
waterchestnut
Water Chestnuts: The tastiest ways to include this healthy tuber in your diet Water chestnut is not a nut after all. It is a tuber (much like the potatoes) growing close…
Oxalates: How healthy greens can sometimes be bad news for your kidneys Oxalates are compounds present in a majority of healthy foods. However, at times an overconsumption of these could…
Sciatica pain relief: Get rid of the pain with these easy daily tips Researchers have claimed that not only heat but icing the area too helps relieve sciatica pain. Find out…
How to scrub away stress and fatigue with an Epsom salt bath? Epsom salt is a popular home remedy for many skin ailments. Though there is a lack of scientific…
6 arguments in favour of glucosamine and where can you find it Studies have shown that glucosamine works by preventing the breakdown of cartilage of the joints. This is usually…
EEG
Electroencephalogram – EEG EEG or electroencephalogram is a diagnostic tool used to access the functioning of neurons and brain activity to…
Chest X-Ray A chest x-ray is a diagnostic test that uses x-rays to visualize the structures inside your chest. It…
LFT-test
Liver Function Test – LFT LFT or Liver Function Test is a blood test used to determine the levels of hepatic enzymes which…
thyroid_scan
Thyroid Scan Thyroid scan is a diagnostic procedure that aims to view the thyroid gland and detect any growths or…
Rubella IgM test
Rubella IgM Test The Rubella IgM test is a blood test that is performed to diagnose the presence of the rubella…
HSV-IgM test
Herpes Simplex Virus (HSV)-IgM Test The HSV-IgM class antibody is produced by the body a few days after an initial HSV infection and…
apolipoprotein a1 test
Apolipoprotein -A1 (APO-A1) Test Apolipoprotein A-I (Apo-A1) constitutes 70% of protein content in high-density lipoprotein (HDL) and helps in lipid metabolism.
dhea adrenal
Androstenedione Test Androstenedione is produced by the adrenal gland, the test of the levels of Androstenedione helps in the evaluation…
ureteroscopy
Ureteroscopy Ureteroscopy is the diagnostic procedure which is used for the detection of the kidney stones in addition to…
occupational hazards types
Occupational Hazards: How to vouch for your health at your workplace Occupational hazards affect millions worldwide. Chemical spills, faulty wires, deadly pathogen, and work-stress can happen anytime. Follow these…
nutritional yeast bread
Nutritional Yeast : How can a fungi culture be good for your body? Nutritional yeast: How a simple culture of fungi can transform your skin, digestion, immunity , and much more.…
calories healthy
Calories: How to keep a check on these for faster weight loss Did you know you can burn calories while sleeping? Calorie-burning is what causes weight loss. How much should…
Anhedonia: Does the chronic inability to feel joy affect you too? How often do you feel dragged down by an invisible force? Do you feel an inexplicable emotional numbness…
Plexus Slim: Is this pink slimming drink the ultimate one-stop fat burner? How effective is Plexus Slim in helping people lose weight? What are its ingredients? Can it be safely…
Ear infections check up
Troubled with ear infections? Find easy and instant home remedies here Ear infections are common in both children and adults and may lead to hearing loss if left untreated.…
Appendix pain: Recent findings on this not-so vestigial organ The exact function of the appendix is still not clear. Some consider it as an organ that once…
Top reasons why you need to pay attention to your vitamin B6 intake Vitamin B6- An essential water-soluble vitamin. Its deficiency leads to physical changes such as sores & glossy tongue…
liver cleanse detox
14 go-to foods that are best for a complete natural liver detox Liver cleanse can be achieved by just choosing or avoiding certain types of food. Liver itself is a detoxifying…
PROSTATE-SPECIFIC-ANTIGEN
Prostate-Specific Antigen (PSA) Test Prostate specific antigen test is a blood test used to determine the presence of prostate cancer or any…
anoscopy
Anoscopy Anoscopy is an invasive diagnostic procedure where a small device known as anoscope will be inserted in the…