The #1 Sign Your White Blood Cell Count is "Way Too Low"
White blood cells are a vital part of the immune system that help fight off infection, but when their count gets low you're more likely to get sick. Having routine blood work done can help gauge your white blood cell count, but your body also sends signals telling you something is off. Eat This, Not That! Health spoke with Dr. Tomi Mitchell, a Board-Certified Family Physician with Holistic Wellness Strategies who explains everything to know about white blood cells and signs your count is too low. Read on—and to ensure your health and the health of others, don't miss these Sure Signs You've Already Had COVID.
What to Know White Blood Cells
Dr. Mitchell says, "White blood cells (WBCs), also called leukocytes or leucocytes, are the blood cells that defend the body against infection. The body produces different types of WBCs to fight off infections. For example, neutrophils are the most common type of WBC and help fight bacterial infections. Other types of WBCs include lymphocytes, which help to fight viruses; monocytes, which help to eat bacteria; and eosinophils, which help to fight parasites. WBCs are made in the bone marrow and circulate in the bloodstream until they are needed to fight infection. When an infection occurs, WBCs travel to the site and release chemicals that kill the germs causing the infection. WBCs are an essential part of the immune system and play a vital role in keeping the body healthy."
Why it's Important to Monitor Your White Blood Cell Count
Dr. Mitchell states, "White blood cells are an essential part of the immune system and help the body fight off infection. However, sometimes white blood cells can become abnormal. These abnormal cells can grow out of control and form tumors. For this reason, monitoring your white blood cell counts is essential. By keeping track of your white blood cell counts, you can be sure that any abnormal cells are detected early and treated promptly. In addition, monitoring your white blood cell counts can help to ensure that your immune system is functioning correctly. If you have a low white blood cell count, it may be a sign that you are at risk of contracting infections. As a result, monitoring your white blood cell counts is important to maintain your health and well-being."
If You Have This Number, You White Blood Cell Count is Too Low
Dr. Mitchell tells us, "A low white blood cell count is a condition known as leukopenia. A healthy person has between 4,000 and 11,000 white blood cells per microliter of blood. A level below 4,000 is considered leukopenia. White blood cells are an essential part of the body's immune system. They help to fight infection and protect against disease. When the body doesn't have enough white blood cells, it becomes more susceptible to illness. Symptoms of leukopenia can include fatigue, shortness of breath, and an increased risk of infection. Some people with leukopenia do not experience any symptoms. In most cases, leukopenia is caused by another underlying medical condition, such as cancer or HIV/AIDS. Treatment for leukopenia focuses on addressing the underlying cause."
According to Dr. Mitchell, "Fatigue is one of the most common low white blood cell count symptoms. White blood cells are an essential part of the immune system and help fight off infection. When the body doesn't have enough white blood cells, it becomes more susceptible to illness. Fatigue occurs because the body cannot mount an effective immune response, and it can also be a sign of an underlying condition causing a low white blood cell count. If you are experiencing fatigue, it is essential to see a doctor so that they can check your white blood cell count and determine the cause. In most cases, a low white blood cell count can be treated with medication or lifestyle changes."
Dr. Mitchell says, "Infections are most commonly caused by bacteria, viruses, or fungi. The body's immune system fights off these invaders, and part of the Immune system is the white blood cells. If you have a low white blood cell count, your body is not producing enough of these infection-fighting cells. As a result, you will be more susceptible to infections. In some cases, a low white blood cell count can be a sign of a more serious underlying condition. If you have a history of infections, or if you have been feeling run down or fatigued, it is essential to see your doctor so that they can check your white blood cell count."
"A viral infection is one of the most common reasons for a low white blood cell count," Dr. Mitchell states. "When your body is fighting off an infection, it can cause your white blood cell count to decrease. However, other conditions can also lead to a low white blood cell count, including autoimmune diseases, bone marrow problems, and certain medications. A bruise occurs when small blood vessels are damaged, causing the blood to leak into the surrounding tissues. Because white blood cells play an essential role in repairing these blood vessels, a decrease in their numbers can lead to increased bruising. If you notice that you are bruising more easily than usual, it could be a sign that your white blood cell count is too low. However, only a medical professional can confirm this diagnosis."
Dr. Mitchell explains, "When your white blood count is too low, it can increase bleeding. This is because the white blood cells help to clot the blood; without them, the blood does not clot. This can cause bleeding from even a minor cut or scrape and lead to nosebleeds and bleeding gums. If you have a low white blood count, it is essential to avoid cuts and scrapes and see your doctor if you bleed more than usual. Increased bleeding can signify a severe condition, so it is essential to seek medical help if you experience this symptom."
Dr. Mitchell says this "doesn't constitute medical advice and by no means are these answers meant to be comprehensive. Rather, it's to encourage discussions about health choices."