A high white blood cell count in the body can be indicative of several factors. It may show that the natural immune system is working hard to restore certain balances and to destroy any infection. Excessive physical or emotional stress may also cause the same. Like with most extreme scenarios, a high or low WBC count may be potentially problematic depending on the cause that has resulted in the spike or lessening of the same. White blood cells are also known as leukocytes make up about one percent of the human blood stream and their function is to protect the body against disease and illness. Thus, a TLC test must be taken.
There is a process employed by white blood cells known as 'phagocytosis', whereby they surround the offending foreign pathogens and decimate them completely. The production, distribution and transportation of antibodies in order to enhance the body's immune system is carried out by the white blood cells. In the case of acute or severe infections, there is a colony-stimulating factor (CSF) that further stimulates the bone marrow for a high WBC count. The production is doubled within a matter of a few hours.
Effects of Nutrition on White Blood Cells
In terms of nutrition, traditionally the more vitamin C is consumed, the more it increases one's natural immunity. Thus, almost all citrus fruits like lemon, oranges, limes, etc. are considered to be a key factor in terms of building one's natural immunity. Apart from these foods that contain high antioxidants vitamin E, fiber, fish oils, calcium, nuts, black and green tea, olive oil, etc. must also be consumed.
Also, consumption of omega-3 fatty acids that are abundantly available in foods like salmon, walnuts and flaxseed are recommended along with some non-alcoholic beer. Studies have indicated that drinking one to one and a half liters of non-alcoholic beer for three weeks before and two weeks after running a marathon helps to reduce both inflammation and cell count. Even non-athletes can follow this as a preventative health measure.Book Complete Blood count Test
Maintaining a Normal WBC Count Basic Lifestyle Changes that You Can Undertake
It is important that a normal WBC count is optimally maintained. For this some
lifestyle habits need to be incorporated unfailingly. These include:
- Six to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night
- Regular physical activity for thirty minutes or more each day of moderate to high intensity
- Consuming a variety of fruits and vegetables
- Avoiding all tobacco products
While all of the aforementioned factors are important, the most vital is physical activity. The body actually increases the cell count during exercise. In fact, this increase in the activity of the cells might actually allow the body to identify disease-causing organisms more rapidly than under normal circumstances, which is yet another benefit of exercise. Immediately after exercise, the cell count increases in proportion to the intensity and duration of the workout.
Factors That Influence a High White Blood Cell Count
Some other conditions which lend themselves to a high count are Pregnancy in the final month and labour, the removal of one's spleen may potentially lead to a mild to moderate increase in levels, healthy newborns and infants usually have a higher count than adults and last but not the least, chronic smokers over a prolonged period may also indicate a higher count.
Other reasons include:
- Infections like common flu or cough,
- Medications, including corticosteroids
- A bone marrow or immune disorder
- Certain cancers, such as acute or chronic lymphocytic leukemia
- Inflammation in the blood stream
- Heavy injuries
- Mental or psychological stress,
- Hard physical labor
- Allergic reactions and excessive exercise
Sometimes there can be no identifiable diagnosis for the increase in the count. The term for this is idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome. Unfortunately, it could potentially lead to issues of the heart, skin, lung, liver and nervous system. Also, some identifiable symptoms of this syndrome are weight loss, fever, night sweats, fatigue, coughing, chest pain, swelling, stomach ache, skin rash, pain, weakness, confusion or coma.
Types of White Blood Cells - An Insight
There are different types of white blood cells which are related to different aspects of
one's health. These are:
The majority of these are Neutrophils which account for seventy percent of the overall count. These increase rapidly in case of bacterial or fungal infections as well as mental or emotional stress. In case of a viral or bacterial infection lymphocytes crease in count. Likewise with chronic inflammation, monocytes increase in number. In case of an allergic occurrence or parasitic infection, it is the enhanced production of basophils and eosinophils that comes to the rescue.
There are some factors which contribute to elevated white blood cell counts in people. The first one being any infection or inflammation. The occurrence of this causes the bone marrow to increase the cell count exponentially. Heavy smokers may suffer from Chronic Pulmonary Disease (COPD). With prolonged smoking habits inflammation in lungs and airways of the body tends to increase thus consequently enabling the body to increase the cell count.Full Body Checkup | Price Rs. 750 onwards
A type of cancer called Leukemia does the same. Cells that are infected by leukemia are often non-functional thus causing the spread of the disease. Disorders of the immune system like Crohn's or Graves disease cause the same concern. In this case stringent monitoring by the doctor is required. Last but not the least, good old-fashioned stress which is an inescapable fact of urban life also causes an increase in the cell count.
The human body is a very complex mechanism. If any function is not in its predetermined alignment, it simply responds with an indication that all is not well and it needs a higher count to help protect it. However, a consistently high white blood cell count does not always indicate that the body is working hard to battle short-term ailments.
The condition of an excessive count is known as leukocytosis and while it is not a disease or an alarming medical condition, it could be indicative of an underlying medical problem. Which is why an immediate checkup in a professional environment is recommended.