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What causes elevated monocytes?

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Quick Answer

Elevated monocyte levels, or monocytosis, may be due to chronic inflammatory disease, stress response, leukemia, parasitic or viral infection or tuberculosis, as MedlinePlus indicates. A complete blood count gives insight into the number of each kind of blood cell present in the body, according to WebMD.

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Full Answer

Increased monocytes, as detected by a CBC, often indicate some serious infection, says About.com. These white blood cells originate in the bone marrow and are released after three or four days into the bloodstream. The largest of the white blood cells, monocytes are stored mostly in the spleen. At this stage, they are referred to as macrophages. Monocytes compose roughly 3 to 10 percent of the blood count of the average healthy adult.

Monocytes help to fight infection by attacking foreign substances and relaying information to other cells to assist in the fight, reports About.com. Without them, this process is disrupted. If an infection is present, treatments vary. Antibiotics can be used to fight some infections. Other prescription drugs, cancer treatments and blood transfusions can also assist. Once the cause of the elevation is identified, additional testing may be required for a specific diagnosis. A mild elevation of monocytes is typical and does not usually require follow-up.

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