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White Cell Count (WBC) Testing

Private Testing Online: Tests & Biomarkers Available

How to check your White Cell Count levels with a home fingerprick blood test kit

White Cell Count Testing UK Statistics 2021

Icon For White Cell Count

6.3% of people tested have White Cell Count levels which are too high.

And 0.7% have levels that are too low.

The average White Cell Count result is 6.6 x10^9/L
Note what is normal for you may differ for your age and gender.

Human female body

Women tend to report higher white cell count blood levels in their blood than men.

As many as one in fifteen women tested have high levels of White Cell Count

Normal range test results

93.0%

of people have White Cell Count blood levels in the normal range. Do you?

Are you in the 93.0% with normal results?

What If White Cell Count Test Levels Are High?

What If White Cell Count Test Levels Are High?

A high white blood cell count can result from bacterial infections, inflammation and other blood disorders, trauma, medication, or following an operation.

Leucocytosis is the term given to an increased number of white blood cells. 

What If White Cell Count Test Levels Are Low?

What If White Cell Count Test Levels Are Low?

Low levels of white blood cells can result from many different situations.

These include following infection (particularly viral), diseases of the immune system, certain medication, vitamin deficiencies, liver disease, an enlarged spleen or occasionally an inflammatory condition.

Further testing and follow up with a medical professional is advised, as a low white cell count makes you more susceptible to infection.

How To Test White Cell Count?

Health testing for White Cell Count levels in your blood

The White Cell Count (WBC) Test allows you to accurately check your levels of White Cell Count in a fingerprick blood sample.

You can check your White Cell Count levels by buying a home fingerprick blood test kit below. Your sample is then professionally analysed in an accredited laboratory for total reassurance. The Vitall Full Blood Count (FBC) Home Test Kit includes a White Cell Count test and is available for just £59.

Please see the following test kits:

Other Biomarkers Often Tested With White Cell Count

Why Take The White Cell Count Test?

Take control of your health without any of the inconvenience of going to the doctors with one of Vitall’s at-home blood tests.

Who Should Take The White Cell Count Blood Test?

using a home fingerprick blood test kit.

You get the convenience of home testing with the reassurance of professional clinical analysis. Your results are delivered quickly & securely online.

This Full Blood Count (FBC) Test is advised if you:

  • have symptoms of anemia (often including fatigue, paleness, difficulty exercising);
  • think you may have a bacterial or viral infection;
  • want to check the general health of your blood;
  • want the convenience of home testing without waiting for a GP appointment;
  • need a high quality, clinically accredited test done in a professional clinical laboratory.

Take a complete health check-up with Vitall.

£59

How Much Do Full Blood Count Tests Cost?

The Vitall full blood count test is available online for just £59. Your home test kit will be dispatched by free first class post for delivery to your door.

For the best value testing you can also upgrade this full blood count home test to tests which also measure other biomarkers, including:

When you checkout to buy your full blood count test online we also offer additional options, including:

  • Upgrade to next day delivery of your home test kit for an additional £7.99.
  • Visit the Patient Reception in central London for just £25. Your full blood count test sample can be collected by a qualified nurse for immediate analysis.
  • Have a nurse visit you to collect the sample for your full blood count test, this is available within the M25 area for just £149.

Whichever option you choose at checkout, buying the best full blood count test online in the UK with Vitall ensures high quality results from an accredited laboratory.

Take control of your health today with one of Vitall’s home blood tests.

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What Is A WBC Blood Test?

White Blood Cells (WBCs), also known as leukocytes, are immune cells that are present in your bloodstream, tissues, and lymphatic system. They play a key role in helping your body protect itself against infections and injuries. They are also heavily involved in allergic and inflammatory reactions.

WBCs can be grouped into five categories: neutrophils, eosinophils, basophils, lymphocytes, and monocytes. Cells in these categories have different structures and functions. 

  • Neutrophils help your body fight infections by ingesting bacteria and fungi. 
  • Eosinophils have a dual function; they secrete antibodies to neutralise allergens while at the same time dealing with parasites like worms. 
  • Basophils secrete histamines to help your body defend itself against allergens. 
  • Lymphocytes are divided into 3 groups: B cells, T cells and Natural Killer Cells. B cells identify viruses and release antibodies against them, while T cells and Natural Killers deal with cells that are infected by viruses or that are cancerous.
  • Monocytes can convert into a different type of cell called a macrophage so they can ingest cellular debris. 

WBC blood tests are measured as part of a full blood count test and provide a count for each type of white blood cell in your body. [1-3]


 

What Is A White Blood Cell Count Used For?

When your body is experiencing an infection or an inflammatory reaction, white blood cells are produced at a higher rate by your bone marrow. The WBCs are then released into the bloodstream so they can reach the site of the reaction. Once the reaction has ended, the rate of production of WBCs will go back to normal as well as your WBC levels.

Cancer and autoimmune diseases can also affect the rate at which WBCs are produced and released by your bone marrow.

WBC blood tests may indicate if you have an underlying condition, although it is not enough for your GP to make a proper diagnosis; further blood tests are usually needed to get the full picture.

WBCs can also be used to monitor the evolution of previously diagnosed conditions as well as to monitor the effects of some treatments like chemotherapy or radiotherapy. [4,5]  
 

When Should I Take A WBC Blood Test?

WBC Blood Tests are usually routinely taken as part of the Full Blood Count (FBC) test once or twice a year depending on your overall health. Your GP can also ask you to take the FBC blood test if you have fever, body aches, a headache, or other symptoms of an infection or inflammation. 

WBC tests can provide important insights if cancer, or if an autoimmune or blood disorder is suspected. You may have to take WBC tests regularly if you have already been diagnosed with a condition that affects your white blood cell count or are undergoing certain cancer treatments. 

If previous tests show that you have abnormally low or high WBC count, you might need to regularly take the test in order to monitor the evolution of your condition and discuss with your GP the appropriate steps to take [6,7].
 

£59

What Is The Process For An WBC Blood Test?

To test your WBC levels, you can order the Full Blood Count test kit online in the UK and you will receive the sampling kit int he post.

All you have to do is simply prick your finger to draw blood using the fingerprick lancet provided in the kit and send the sample by post in the envelope provided to you.

The sample will be analysed, and the results sent to you online usually within 24 hours.

You can learn more about the testing process here.

What Is A Normal White Blood Cell Count?

A normal white blood cell count is in the 4,500 to 11,000 WBCs per microliter range. Each type of the different WBCs has a reference percentage of the total count.

Neutrophils normally represent 40 to 60 % of the total count, lymphocytes 20 to 40 %, monocytes 2 to 8 %, eosinophils 1 to 4 %, and basophils 0.5 to 1%. [8]
 

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What Causes A High WBC?

Having WBC levels higher than the normal range is referred to as leucocytosis. Leucocytosis can be caused by smoking or by severe trauma causing tissue damage.

The spleen is an organ that regulates the levels of WBCs in your body. Individuals who have had to get a splenectomy (surgical removal of the spleen) either due to a ruptured spleen or for disease related reasons, will have a drastic increase in WBCs.  

Taking a lot of medication can cause your body to experience leucocytosis. Medication that has shown to cause leucocytosis are anti-asthma drugs such as salbutamol, as well as corticosteroids, epinephrine, heparin, lithium, and chemotherapy drugs like the granulocyte colony-stimulating factor (G-CSF). 

Elevated levels of the different types of WBCs can indicate a specific condition.

  • Elevated neutrophil levels can indicate a bacterial infection or a high level of psychological stress.
  • High lymphocyte levels can indicate a viral infection, whooping cough, or mononucleosis.
  • An increase in monocytes can indicate a fungal infection, malaria, or tuberculosis.
  • High levels of eosinophils can indicate an allergic reaction, autoimmune diseases, or parasitic worms.
  • High basophil levels can indicate cancer, chickenpox, or hypothyroidism. 

Generally speaking, infections, inflammatory diseases such allergies, inflammatory bowel syndrome, or rheumatoid arthritis as well leukaemia or Hodgkin’s lymphoma can raise your overall WBC levels significantly. 

Pregnant women usually have high levels of white blood cells that can reach 13,000 WBCs per microliter and sometimes more. These high levels of WBCs are not only due to the pregnancy itself but also to the physical and mental stress associated with it.

Symptoms of leucocytosis can be frequent fever, bleeding or bruising, fatigue, dizziness, excessive sweating, vision problems, lack of appetite, weight loss, breathing problems and pain in arms and legs.

It is important to know that if your leucocytosis is caused by mental health issues or by a medication, you may not have any symptoms. [9,10]
 

What Is Considered A High White Blood Cell Count?

If a WBC test reports that your white blood cell count is above 11,000 WBCs per microliter, you are considered to have leucocytosis.

Your GP might ask you to take further tests in order to understand what is causing your body to produce too many white blood cells. [11] 
 

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What Does A High WBC Mean?

Having a white blood cell count that is higher than the reference range means that your body’s immune system is overly active. 

A high level of WBCs in your body can cause your blood to thicken, which is known as the hyperviscosity syndrome. This condition is rare, but it can have serious complications, from strokes to vision loss, difficulty breathing and gastro-intestinal bleeding.

It is important to know if you have leucocytosis from early on, and this is why if you start experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned above, you should talk to your GP and take a full blood count test. [12,13]
 

How Can I Decrease My White Blood Cell Count?

Many strategies exist to decrease your WBC count. Doing more exercise, following a weight loss diet if you are overweight, or reducing your levels of stress can all help lower your WBC count. 

Avoid drinking any alcohol, reheating meals in the microwave, or having processed foods or any foods with too much salt, fat, and sugar. 

Having a diet rich in antioxidants, omega-3 fatty acids, and vitamin C can help your body regulate its WBC levels.

You should talk to your GP to understand what is causing your leucocytosis. If it is a medicine you are taking, discuss alternatives with your GP. [14,15]
 

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What Causes A Low WBC?

When your WBC levels are lower than normal, it is called leukopenia. Many different factors can cause leukopenia. A tumour or infection of the bone marrow can alter your WBC count and can lead to lower levels of WBCs being released into the bloodstream. Autoimmune diseases such as lupus can also cause leukopenia.

Mononucleosis is a disease caused by a specific type of the Herpes virus that can severely impact your WBC levels. A lot of people with mononucleosis aren’t even aware they have it, as symptoms could be indicative of just a common cold and fatigue, so it is important to address these symptoms and see your GP if they are long lasting. Other conditions that can cause leukopenia are bacterial infections and liver and spleen diseases. 

Radiation therapy and certain medications such as antibiotics, anti-epileptics, anti-thyroid agents, captopril, chlorpromazine, clozapine, diuretics, selective histamine-2 antagonists, sulphonamides, quinidine, terbinafine, and ticlopidine can cause a decrease in your WBC levels.

Malnutrition and alcohol abuse can also cause your WBC levels to decrease.

Many different signs may indicate that you have a low white blood cell count: frequent fevers with chills and sweating, bladder infections that make it painful to urinate, lung infections that make you cough, mouth sores, sinus infections, and skin infections. [16,17]
 

What Is Considered A Low White Blood Cell Count?

 

If a WBC blood test reports that your white blood cell count is below 4000 WBCs per microliter, you are considered to have leukopenia.

Your GP might ask you to take further tests in order to understand what is causing your body not to produce enough white blood cells. [18]
 

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What Does A Low WBC Mean?

Having a low white blood cell count means that your immune system is not working at full capacity and that you might be more prone to infections. A lot of the symptoms you experience when you get an infection or develop a medical condition as a result of the actions taken by your white blood cells to defend your body, such as a fever.

Therefore, if you have leukopenia and you get an infection, these symptoms can be masked, so you might not even know that you have an infection or an underlying condition, which will prevent you from seeking your GP. Leaving an infection or a medical condition untreated can have serious effects in the long term.

Cancer patients with a low white blood cell count that have an infection must interrupt their treatment and first address the infection, as cancer treatments can further lower white blood cell count and worsen the infection. Cancer patients with a very low blood cell count can develop infections more easily which can lead to complications such as septicaemia that can be fatal. 

While leucopenia can give you mild symptoms, it can also be fatal if left untreated. It is important to know if your body is not producing enough white blood cells, and this is why you should always talk to your GP if you start experiencing any signs that could be characteristic of leukopenia and see if you need to take the WBC test. [19,20] 

How Can I Increase My White Blood Cell Count?

An inadequate diet can often be the reason why you have below-average WBC levels. A lot of different foods can help your body produce more white blood cells.

The production of eosinophils, lymphocytes, and macrophages can be stimulated by garlic.

Consuming spinach daily has been shown to help increasing the overall number of white blood cells in your body.

Most yogurts have probiotics that can increase the amount of white blood cells that are produced by your bone marrow.

Selenium has been shown to increase the production of white blood cells, specifically neutrophils, and lymphocytes. You can either get the dose of selenium you need from tuna, sardines, turkey, and chicken or from supplements. Noni fruit has a direct effect on the production of T and B lymphocytes. It is usually available as a juice in most supermarkets.

Most vitamins play a very important role in helping your body better defend itself. Vitamin C is the best-known nutrient that can increase the amount of WBCs in your body. Vitamin A has been shown to particularly boost the production of lymphocytes while vitamin E increases the rate of production of natural killer lymphocytes and vitamin B9 promotes the production of neutrophils.

Other foods that can increase your white blood cell count and boost your immunity are citrus fruits like lemon and orange, kiwi, red bell peppers, broccoli, papaya leaves, and sunflower seeds.

Zinc and omega-3 fatty acids can increase your white blood cell count. Zinc is found in whole grains, oysters, red meat, poultry, beans, and nuts. Omega-3 fatty acids are found in fish and seafood, nuts, seeds, and plant oils such as flaxseed or soybean oil. Both zinc and omega-3 fatty acids can also be taken as food supplements. [21,22]

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Further Reading On White Cell Count Tests At Home

  1. Cerny, J. and Rosmarin, A., 2012. Why Does My Patient Have Leukocytosis?. Hematology/Oncology Clinics of North America, 26(2), pp.303-319.
  2. Chabot-Richards, D. and George, T., 2015. White Blood Cell Counts. Clinics in Laboratory Medicine, 35(1), pp.11-24.
  3. Gertz, M. and Kyle, R., 1995. Hyperviscosity Syndrome. Journal of Intensive Care Medicine, 10(3), pp.128-141.
  4. Heinrich, B., 2021. Leukozytose. MMW - Fortschritte der Medizin, 163(8), pp.66-67.
  5. King, W., Toler, K. and Woodell-May, J., 2018. Role of White Blood Cells in Blood- and Bone Marrow-Based Autologous Therapies. BioMed Research International, 2018, pp.1-8.
  6. Kuang, F., 2020. Approach to Patients with Eosinophilia. Medical Clinics of North America, 104(1), pp.1-14.
  7. Labtestsonline.org.uk. 2021. White Blood Cell Count | Lab Tests Online-UK. [online] Available at: https://labtestsonline.org.uk/tests/white-blood-cell-count [Accessed 13 August 2021].
  8. Labtestsonline.org.uk. 2021. White Blood Cell Count | Lab Tests Online-UK. [online] Available at: https://labtestsonline.org.uk/tests/white-blood-cell-count#:~:text=The%20WBC%20count%20is%20used,for%20a%20variety%20of%20reasons. [Accessed 13 August 2021].
  9. nhs.uk. 2021. Low white blood cell count. [online] Available at: https://www.nhs.uk/conditions/low-white-blood-cell-count/ [Accessed 13 August 2021].
  10. Tefferi, A., Hanson, C. and Inwards, D., 2005. How to Interpret and Pursue an Abnormal Complete Blood Cell Count in Adults. Mayo Clinic Proceedings, 80(7), pp.923-936.
  11. ucsfhealth.org. 2021. WBC Count. [online] Available at: https://www.ucsfhealth.org/medical-tests/wbc-count#:~:text=The%20normal%20number%20of%20WBCs,or%20may%20test%20different%20specimens. [Accessed 13 August 2021].
  12. ZANDECKI, M., GENEVIEVE, F., GERARD, J. and GODON, A., 2007. Spurious counts and spurious results on haematology analysers: a review. Part II: white blood cells, red blood cells, haemoglobin, red cell indices and reticulocytes. Clinical and Laboratory Haematology, 29(1), pp.21-41.
  13. Spoor, J., Farajifard, H. and Rezaei, N., 2019. Congenital neutropenia and primary immunodeficiency diseases. Critical Reviews in Oncology/Hematology, 133, pp.149-162.
  14. Werman HA, Brown CG. White blood cell count and differential count. Emerg Med Clin North Am. 1986 Feb;4(1):41-58. PMID: 3512246.
  15. Bargetzi, 2006. Leukopenie/Neutropenie. Therapeutische Umschau, 63(1), pp.78-82.
  16. Dale, D. and Bolyard, A., 2017. An update on the diagnosis and treatment of chronic idiopathic neutropenia. Current Opinion in Hematology, 24(1), pp.46-53.
  17. Dale, D., 2016. How I diagnose and treat neutropenia. Current Opinion in Hematology, 23(1), pp.1-4.
  18. LiveSmart. 2021. White Cell count – LiveSmart. [online] Available at: https://www.getlivesmart.com/white-cell-count [Accessed 13 August 2021].
  19. Mayo Clinic. 2021. Low white blood cell count. [online] Available at: https://www.mayoclinic.org/symptoms/low-white-blood-cell-count/basics/definition/sym-20050615 [Accessed 13 August 2021].
  20. Palmblad, J., Nilsson, C., Höglund, P. and Papadaki, H., 2016. How we diagnose and treat neutropenia in adults. Expert Review of Hematology, 9(5), pp.479-487.
  21. Ruggiero, A., Rizzo, D., Amato, M. and Riccardi, R., 2016. Management of Hyperleukocytosis. Current Treatment Options in Oncology, 17(2).
  22. Sonbol, M., Jain, T., Firwana, B., Hilal, T., Deleon, T., Murad, A., Murad, M. and Khera, N., 2019. Neutropenic diets to prevent cancer infections: updated systematic review and meta-analysis. BMJ Supportive & Palliative Care, pp.bmjspcare-2018-001742.
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