Health Glossary - For Everyone

White blood cells
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What are white blood cells?

White blood cells (also known as leukocytes and written WBC for short) the blood cells which are involved in immunity and defending the body against disease and illness.

White blood cells protect the body from antigen (foreign substances) or pathogens (disease causing organisms such as bacteria, viruses and fungi).

White blood cells are produced in the red bone marrow in the spaces of spongy bone tissue.

Most white blood cells do not last very long (only a few days) but are capable of a process called phagocytosis, which involves engulfing another organism/cell/substance to disarm it and prevent it from causing harm to the body.

There are five types of white blood cells:


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Important white blood cells facts

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Why white blood cells are important

The levels of white blood cells in the body:

White Blood Cells Value (per mcL )
Neutrophils 2.0 - 7.5
Lymphocytes 1.0 - 4.0
Monocytes 0.2 - 1.0
Eosinophils < 0.6
Basophils < 0.2
Total WBC 4.0 - 11.0


Low levels of white blood cells (called leukopaenia) can be caused by a number of reasons, including:

High levels of white blood cells (called leukocytosis) can be caused by a variety of reasons, including:


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Last reviewed: 30 September 2007 || Last updated: 14 March 2010


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More information

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NOTE: Mega doses of any type of vitamin, mineral, amino acid or herbal supplement cannot cure illnesses and in fact can be very dangerous and produce toxic side effects and interfere with medicine you are taking. Always ensure you consult your doctor before taking any type of complementary supplements.
Disclaimer: This guide is not intended to be used for diagnostic or prescriptive purposes. For any treatment or diagnosis of illness, please see your doctor.


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