Can Stress Cause High White Blood Cell Count

Can Stress Cause High White Blood Cell Count – Medically Reviewed by Suzanne Falck, M.D., FACP — By Lori Smith, MSN, BSN, WHNP-BC — Updated January 3, 2023

White blood cells help fight infection and are essential for health and well-being. Changes in white blood cell levels can occur during infections, during pregnancy and with certain cancers.

Can Stress Cause High White Blood Cell Count

Can Stress Cause High White Blood Cell Count

A high white blood cell count may indicate that the immune system is working to destroy an infection.

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It can also be a sign of physical or emotional stress. People with certain blood cancers may also have high white blood cell counts.

A low white blood cell count can signal that an injury or condition is destroying cells faster than the body is making them, or that the body is making too few of them.

White blood cells make up about 1% of all blood cells and are essential for the proper functioning of the immune system. White blood cells are also known as leukocytes.

The bone marrow is constantly producing white blood cells. They are stored in the blood and lymphatic system until they are needed to fight an infection or disease in the body.

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There are usually between 4,500 and 11,000 white blood cells in each microliter of blood, although this can vary by sex, age and race.

When necessary, monocytes travel to other organs, such as the spleen, liver, lungs, and bone marrow, where they transform into a cell called a macrophage.

A macrophage is responsible for many functions, including removing dead or damaged tissue, destroying cancer cells, and regulating the immune response.

Can Stress Cause High White Blood Cell Count

An increase in white blood cells is known as leukocytosis. It usually occurs in response to the following conditions:

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Certain respiratory conditions, such as whooping cough or tuberculosis, can cause white blood cell levels to rise.

In some cases, all white blood cells are affected. However, some people have a specific disease in which only one type of white blood cell is affected.

If the levels of a certain type of white blood cell increase, it may be due to a specific trigger:

There is, in some cases, no identifiable cause for the increase in white blood cells. This is known as idiopathic hypereosinophilic syndrome. It can lead to serious complications such as damage to the heart, lungs, liver, skin and nervous system.

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White blood cell levels increase significantly during a healthy pregnancy due to the physical stress the body endures during this period. Levels begin to rise within the first trimester and continue to rise in the third trimester.

White blood cells in each microliter of blood. This is a response to the physical stresses and trauma of childbirth.

If the levels of white blood cells are lower than usual, this may be a sign that the person has reduced immune activity.

Can Stress Cause High White Blood Cell Count

A deficiency of white blood cells is why people with conditions or medications that suppress the immune system have an increased risk of infection.

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These develop when too many immature blood cells are produced, leading to an imbalance. Myeloproliferative disorders are rare conditions that may or may not become malignant.

The exact results of a high white blood cell count depend on the condition or agent causing it.

After noting any symptoms, a doctor may use a blood test to assess the white blood cell count, and further tests and examinations are often required to pinpoint the exact cause of the problem.

A high white blood cell count can indicate many things, including the immune system fighting an infection, a sign of physical or emotional stress, or certain types of cancer.

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Pregnancy also leads to a high white blood cell count, as levels tend to rise from the first trimester into the third. White blood cell levels will also increase in the hours after delivery due to the severe stress the body is under.

Meanwhile, a low white blood cell count can signal that an injury or condition is destroying cells faster than the body can make them. It could also mean that the body produces too little of them.

While the symptoms depend on the cause of the high white blood cell count, fluctuations in the white blood cell count may not cause symptoms.

Can Stress Cause High White Blood Cell Count

Medical News Today has strict sourcing guidelines and draws only from peer-reviewed studies, academic research institutions, and medical journals and associations. We avoid using third party references. We link to primary sources — including studies, scientific reports and statistics — in each article and also list them in the resources section at the bottom of our articles. You can learn more about how we ensure our content is accurate and up-to-date by reading our editorial policy. Scientists may have identified the link between chronic stress and heart attacks, according to a new study: white blood cells.

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“[They’re] important for fighting infection and healing, but if you have too many of them or they’re in the wrong place, they can be harmful,” said Matthias Nahrendorf of Harvard Medical School, who co-authored the study, reports Agence France-Presse.

Stress causes an overproduction of white blood cells, which protect the body against disease, but can cause problems when they are overproduced. These extra cells can stick to artery walls, causing restrictions in blood flow and helping to form clots that can clog blood vessels throughout the body.

Columbia University researcher and physician Dr. Alan Tal, who was not involved in the study, told the journal Science that while doctors believed that chronic stress could lead to cardiovascular disease, the exact mechanism had not been clear in the past.

To determine the connection, Nahrendorf and a team of researchers studied 29 medical residents who worked in the hospital’s intensive care unit—a pretty stressful place to work. The researchers collected blood samples from the residents both during the workday and after hours, and also administered questionnaires about the residents’ stress levels. After noticing an overproduction of white blood cells in the residents, they conducted an experiment on mice, whose white blood cell counts responded similarly to the stress induced during the experiment.

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While the research may shed new light on the link between stress and heart attacks, Nahrendorf also says that blood pressure, genetics, high cholesterol and smoking contribute to heart attack and stroke risks per L) in non-pregnant women. adults, is a relatively common finding with a wide differential. It is important for clinicians to be able to distinguish malignant from non-malignant etiologies and to distinguish between the more common non-malignant causes of leukocytosis.

Per L) is sometimes referred to as a leukemic reaction. This level of elevation can occur in some serious infections, such as Clostridium difficile infection, sepsis, organ rejection, or in patients with solid tumors.

Per L) at 12 h of life (95% confidence interval). By two weeks of age, this drops to about 5,000 to 20,000 per mm

Can Stress Cause High White Blood Cell Count

There is also a shift from the predominance of associated lymphocytes to neutrophils from early childhood to adolescence and adulthood.

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During pregnancy, there is a gradual increase in the normal white blood cell count (third trimester 95% upper limit = 13,200 per mm

Per L) after caesarean section. Of note, positive bacterial cultures were not associated with leukocytosis or neutrophilia, making leukocytosis an unreliable discriminator in deciding which postpartum patients require antibiotic therapy.

The leukocyte life cycle includes growth and differentiation, storage in the bone marrow, homing within vascular spaces, and migration into tissues. Bone marrow stem cells produce erythroblast cell lines, which become red blood cells. Megakaryoblasts, which become platelets. lymphoblasts; and myeloblasts. Lymphoblasts develop into various types of T lymphocytes and B cells. Myeloblasts further differentiate into monocytes and granulocytes, a designation that includes neutrophils, basophils, and eosinophils (Figure 1). Once white blood cells mature within the bone marrow, 80% to 90% remain in storage in the bone marrow. This large reserve allows for a rapid increase in the number of circulating white blood cells within hours. A relatively small pool (2% to 3%) of leukocytes circulates freely in the peripheral blood

; The rest remain deposited along the edges of blood vessel walls or in the spleen. Leukocytes spend most of their lives in storage. Once a leukocyte is released into the circulation and peripheral tissues, its lifespan ranges from two to 16 days, depending on the type of cell.

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Although the difference between the main types of leukocytes is important in evaluating the cause of leukocytosis, it is sometimes useful to think in terms of absolute rather than relative leukopenias and leukocytosis. To calculate the absolute cell count, the total leukocyte count is multiplied by the differential percentage. For example, with a normal white blood cell count of 10,000 per mm

Per L) and an elevated monocyte percentage of 12, the absolute monocyte count is 12% or 0.12 times the white blood cell count of 10,000 per mm

The most common type of leukocytosis is neutrophilia (an increase in the absolute number of mature neutrophils to greater than 7,000 per mm

Can Stress Cause High White Blood Cell Count

Per L]), which may result from infections, stressful situations, chronic inflammation, drug use, and other causes (Table 3).

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Lymphocytosis (when lymphocytes make up more than 40% of the white blood cell count or the absolute count is greater than 4,500 per mm

Per L]) can occur in patients with whooping cough, syphilis, viral infections,

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