Causes of High White Blood Counts

By Megan Smith

What Are High White Blood Cell Counts?

A high white blood cell count, also known as leukocytosis, signifies an infection or another untreated medical condition. A high white blood cell count is generally considered to be a count of 10,500 leukocytes per microliter of blood, although this depends on age and and gender, especially in children. You can't detect your white blood cell count on your own--go to your doctor, who will draw blood and send it to a lab to determine your blood cell count and whether or not it is cause for concern.

What Causes High White Blood Cell Counts?

White blood cell counts are elevated when the body is fighting an illness or disease, so a high count is indicative of an infection. Often, your doctor will order another round of tests after he or she determines you have a high white blood cell count. Some of the diseases or conditions he or she may test for include measles, tissue damage from burns, tuberculosis, whooping cough, myelofibrosis, acute lymphocytic leukemia, acute myelogenous leukemia, hairy cell leukemia, chronic lymphocytic leukemia and chronic myelogenous leukemia. A high white blood cell count may also be attributable to several viral or bacterial infections that, depending on your symptoms, your doctor may also test for.

Treating High Blood Cell Counts

You and your doctor will determine what is the best treatment once a diagnosis has been reached. For most viruses and bacteria, your doctor will prescribe antibiotics. Once your illness has been cured, your blood cell counts should return to normal. If your blood cell counts continue to get higher with treatment, or drop down to below-normal levels, your doctor may place you on a different form of treatment in response to an altered diagnosis. If your doctor determines you have leukemia, radiation or chemotherapy may be prescribed and your white blood cell counts will most likely be compromised until you have completely recovered.

bibliography-icon icon for annotation tool Cite this Article

Related Articles

More Related