The human body is supplied with nutrition and oxygen by the blood. The blood also transports vital hormones to various parts of the body. The blood contains the main functioning part of the human immune system. The white blood cells are the essential cells for the immune system.
Blood is made up of various different products including red blood cells as also the white blood cells. A complete blood count test is used to measure these various components of the blood. The complete blood count also measures the size of the various cells in the blood. The white blood cell count is also known as the differential count. This is because there are five different types of white blood cells found in human blood. These are neutrophils, basophils, eosinophils, lymphocytes and monocytes. The quantity of white blood cells is measured in a normal complete blood count. The typical white blood cell count varies from 4,000 to 10,000 cells per millimeter cubed (mm3).
The white blood count levels tend to rise when the body is under duress or stress. The count is elevated when an individual is suffering from an infection or inflammation. Trauma might cause an elevation in the white blood cell count as well. The condition when the white blood cell count is high is known as leukocytosis. The opposite of this is known as leucopenia. This is when the white blood cell count is dangerously low. A person with a low white blood cell count is likely to be susceptible to many diseases and infections because the natural defense offered by the lymphocytes will be dampened. A person suffering from cancer may suffer from a low white blood cell count. This is not because of the disease but is actually because of the treatment which uses either chemotherapy or radiation therapy. These therapies are designed to kill the cancer cells, but they also often kill white blood cells as well.
The test is conducted in the same way as a normal blood test. Blood is drawn from a vein in the upper forearm and sent to a laboratory for analysis. A patient should be clear with the doctors about the drugs that are being used at the time. Many different medications have the effect of increasing or decreasing the white blood cell count. When a treatment involves the consumption of these drugs, the test results are likely to be adversely affected and it is possible that the test will be useless as it will not provide a clear picture of the actual state of the patient's health.More articles from the Blood Tests Category