White Blood Cell Count and Differential Count
(WBC and Diff)
- WBC Count
- Leukocyte Count
- White Count
- WBC and Differential
- Leukocyte Count
WBCs are produced in the bone marrow, and are necessary to fight infection and for normal immune response. A WBC count measures the total amount of WBCs in a specified amount of blood, while a Differential count measures specific WBCs as a percentage of the total WBC count, and allows for more specific diagnoses. The Absolute Count is the product of a mathematical calculation done in the lab, and is done as a further diagnostic tool. WBC and Diff are always done as part of a Complete Blood Count, which gives your doctor a lot of information concerning your general health, and is used to help diagnose illness, and to monitor how well you are responding to treatment.
There are five different WBCs and each have a different function in normal immunity. Neutrophils fight and eat bacteria and only live for a few hours. Basophils, mainly eosinophils, are released as a result of allergic reactions or the presence of parasites. Lymphocytes are divided into T cells and B cells; T cells are involved in immune reactions; B cells are involved in antibody production. Monocytes are similar to neutrophils, but they are produced very quickly and live longer. Low blood levels are seen in people with severe infections, inherited bone marrow disease, autoimmune disease, poor nutrition, non-functioning bone marrow, chemotherapy, or excessively high levels of some medications. High levels are seen in people with inflammation or infection, stress, trauma, or leukemia. There are many medications that can affect WBC levels.
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