The normal count of WBC in the blood is age-dependent:
Adult men: 4.5 - 10.5 x 103/µl (microliter)
Adult women: 4.5 - 10.5 x 103/µl (microliter)
Children from 6 to 18 years old: 4.8 - 10.8 x 103/µl (microliter)
Children from 2 months old to 6 years old: 5 - 19 x 103/µl (microliter)
Babies from 2 weeks old to 2 months old: 5 - 21 x 103/µl (microliter)
Newborns (up to 14 days old): 9 - 30 x 103/µl (microliter)
Each laboratory must establish its own normal ranges for WBC count in the blood. These ranges depend on the makeup of the local population, the technologies used and the accuracy of the measurement. There may be also slight differences in the normal levels, according to age, gender, race or ethnic origin, geographic region, diet, type of sample and other relevant status.
Your doctor will study the results along with your medical record, screenings, physical condition, symptoms and any other relevant information about your situation.
Some circumstances can alter the normal ranges:
WBC count is the total number of WBCs in a cubic millimeter of blood (/mm 3)
WBCs, also called leukocytes, fight infection and defend the body by a process called phagocytosis, in which the leukocytes actually encapsulate foreign organisms and destroy them. Leukocytes also produce, transport, and distribute antibodies as part of the immune response to a foreign substance (antigen).
The endocrine system is an important regulator of the number of leukocytes in the blood. Hormones affect the production of leukocytes in the blood-forming organs, their storage and release from the tissue, and their disintegration. For example, a local inflammatory process exerts a definite chemical effect on the mobilization of leukocytes.
The life span of leukocytes varies from 13 to 20 days, after which the cells are destroyed in the lymphatic system; many are excreted from the body in fecal matter.
White blood cells (or leukocytes) are divided into two main groups:
The WBC count is usually performed in a routine blood test and provide information about many diseases and their progress. The WBC count serves as a useful guide to the severity of the disease process.
Specific patterns of leukocyte response are expected in various types of diseases as determined by the differential count (percentages of the different types of leukocytes) and it may be helpful for the diagnosis.
It is interesting to know the intrinsic WBC count of a person to detect any changes in the normal values.
A high WBC count is called leukocytosis and occurs in acute infections (mainly bacterial), in which the degree of increase of leukocytes depends on severity of the infection. Increased WBC counts may also be associated with stress, intense exercise, trauma, inflammation, and pain. Smoking may also cause slight leukocytosis. In addition, white blood cell counts are usually elevated well above the normal range in the presence of leukemia.
A low WBC count is called leukopenia and it is typical of chronic viral infection, immunodeficiency diseases or bone marrow disorders. Exposure to lead, mercury, some chemotherapy agents, and radiation may also cause the white blood cell count to be diminished.
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The following values are considered to be normal values:
IMPORTANT: These levels are expressed in number/µl (microliter). They are an example of a healthy woman of about 45 years old with no known disease and not taking any medication. The ranges can be different depending on the laboratory or on your personal circumstances.
|4.5 x 103/µl||4.6 x 103/µl||4.7 x 103/µl||4.8 x 103/µl||4.9 x 103/µl||5 x 103/µl||5.1 x 103/µl||5.2 x 103/µl|
|5.3 x 103/µl||5.4 x 103/µl||5.5 x 103/µl||5.6 x 103/µl||5.7 x 103/µl||5.8 x 103/µl||5.9 x 103/µl||6 x 103/µl|
|6.1 x 103/µl||6.2 x 103/µl||6.3 x 103/µl||6.4 x 103/µl||6.5 x 103/µl||6.6 x 103/µl||6.7 x 103/µl||6.8 x 103/µl|
|6.9 x 103/µl||7 x 103/µl||7.1 x 103/µl||7.2 x 103/µl||7.3 x 103/µl||7.4 x 103/µl||7.5 x 103/µl||7.6 x 103/µl|
|7.7 x 103/µl||7.8 x 103/µl||7.9 x 103/µl||8 x 103/µl||8.1 x 103/µl||8.2 x 103/µl||8.3 x 103/µl||8.4 x 103/µl|
|8.5 x 103/µl||8.6 x 103/µl||8.7 x 103/µl||8.8 x 103/µl||8.9 x 103/µl||9 x 103/µl||9.1 x 103/µl||9.2 x 103/µl|
|9.3 x 103/µl||9.4 x 103/µl||9.5 x 103/µl||9.6 x 103/µl||9.7 x 103/µl||9.8 x 103/µl||9.9 x 103/µl||10 x 103/µl|
|10.1 x 103/µl||10.2 x 103/µl||10.3 x 103/µl||10.4 x 103/µl||10.5 x 103/µl|