Blood Test, CBC - White Blood Cell Count (WBC)

A white blood cell (WBC) count is a test that determines the number of white blood cells in your body. This test is generally included with a complete blood count (CBC)

There are various types of white blood cells, and your blood usually contains a percentage of each type of white blood cells. Sometimes, your white blood cell count can increase or decrease out of the healthy range.

Purpose of a WBC count

Having a higher or lower number of White blood cell counts than normal may shows an underlying condition.

A WBC count can determines hidden infections within your body and alert doctors to treat medical conditions, such as blood disorders, autoimmune diseases and immune deficiencies.

This test also helps doctors to know the effectiveness of radiation treatment in people with cancer or chemotherapy.

Types of WBCs

WBCs is also called leukocytes which is very important part of the immune system.

There are five major kinds of white blood cells:

  • neutrophils
  • lymphocytes
  • eosinophils
  • monocytes
  • basophils

A normal WBC count

These are the normal ranges of WBCs per microliter of blood (mcL):

Age range

WBC count (per mcL of blood)


9,000 to 30,000

children under 2

6,200 to 17,000

children over 2 and adults

5,000 to 10,000

Normal ranges can vary by lab. Other measurement for the volume of blood is cubic millimeter, or mm3.

Symptoms of an abnormal WBC count

The symptoms of a low WBC count include:

  • body aches
  • fever
  • chills
  • headaches

Usually high WBC counts don’t often cause symptoms

In order to measure the issues and symptoms your doctor will recommend a WBC count. It is also normal for doctors to order a CBC and check your WBC count.

Understanding the results of a WBC count

High and low WBC count is classified as abnormal test results and may indicate blood disorder or other medical condition. To identify the actual cause the doctor may recommend other tests and will take several factors into consideration

Low WBC count is also known as Leukopenia . A low number can be due to:

  • HIV
  • autoimmune disorders
  • bone marrow disorders or damage
  • lymphoma
  • severe infections
  • liver and spleen diseases
  • lupus
  • radiation therapy

High WBC count is also known as Leukocytosis . A high number can be due to:

  • smoking
  • infections such as tuberculosis
  • tumors in the bone marrow
  • leukemia
  • inflammatory conditions, such as arthritis and bowel disease
  • stress
  • exercise
  • tissue damage
  • pregnancy
  • allergies
  • asthma

Authenticated by:

Dr. Gaurav Sharma

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