Leukocytes are commonly known to us as White Blood Cells (WBCs). WBCs are found throughout our body, primarily in our blood and lymphatic system. The human body contains five different types of White Blood Cells.
One drop of human blood on an average is known to contain 7000 to 20000 White Blood Cells. These cells are known to have a very short life span. Every couple of days the body engulfs old WBCs and creates new ones. Some WBCs may have a life span ranging between 5-10days.
Importance of White Blood Cells
White Blood Cells are extremely significant to our existence as they contain the mechanism to fight germs which enter our body. WBCs help in the proper functioning of our immune system. They are always on the watch out for any foreign bodies or undesirable entities which may make way into our body and blood stream.
The WBCs immediately get to work and fight and kill these disease causing germs before any harm befalls us. In short, WBCs are our body guards. But what if these body guards fall ill or stop functioning adequately?
4 Infections of White Blood Cells
Identifying White Blood Cell Infection
The simplest way to detect and identify an infected White Blood Cell is the blood cell count of our body. Any major diversion in the count from the average numbers is a cause of alarm.
A simple routine blood test will also help us to determine the WBC count. Low WBC count as well as high WBC count, both are signs of serious infections and must be brought under a doctor’s supervision immediately.
Low White Blood Cell Infection-Neutropenia
About 50% of circulating WBCs is composed of neutrophils. These help in fighting the undesirable bacteria which enters our body. A significant drop in the count of neutrophils leads to an infection of the WBC termed as neutropenia. A low count of WBC makes our body weak and more prone to infections.
There aren’t enough ‘body guards’ to fight away the bacteria’s anymore and our body becomes home to many more infections. Low WBC count could be a side effect of chemotherapy or any radiation therapy. It is very difficult to immediately detect a low WBC count due to lack of exclusive symptoms. However a patient who continues to have fever for a long duration of times in spite of medicines is sure to have witnessed a drop in WBC levels.
High White Blood Cell Infection-Leukemia
A very high white blood cell count is the symptom for cancer. If the white blood cell count reaches around 50,000 the patient in most probabilities would be diagnosed with Leukemia cancer.
This usually occurs when the lymphocyte component of the WBC shows a sudden increase. Most leukemia today is considered curable.
Other Infections of High White Blood Cell count
Apart from leukemia a high WBC count may also be an indicator of a severe allergy, bone marrow disease, tissue damage or other infections. Once the WBC number has been determined, specific lab tests may be advised to come to the exact conclusion about the form of disease.
A word of caution must be borne in mind that a high level of WBC may not always be dangerous. Pregnant women, new born babies and chain smokers are known to have high WBCs. White Blood Cell infection must always be treated immediately as it is a pathway for other infections.