Monocytes are a type of white blood cell produced in the bone marrow. Their main function is to fight infection. A high absolute monocyte count occurs as a result of chronic infection.
What Are Monocytes?
Monocytes are one of the many different types of white blood cells. They are made in an individual's bone marrow. They account for approximately one to 10 percent of the circulating white blood cells found within the body. After monocytes enter the bloodstream, they end up in the spleen, liver or lungs, where they transform into macrophages. Macrophages rid the body of debris and old cells by engulfing them. This helps to regulate the body's immune responses.
Causes of a High Absolute Monocyte Count
A high absolute monocyte count, or monocytosis, can be the result of a viral infection such as mononucleosis, mumps or measles. In some cases, a more serious disease may be indicated by a high monocyte count such as tuberculosis, pneumonia, leukemia or chronic inflammatory disease. Increased stress levels and diseases such as Sarcoidos, Cushing's Syndrome and Langerhans cell hystiocytosis are known to raise the level of monocytes produced in the body.
What Are the Symptoms of a High Absolute Monocyte Count?
There's a number of signs and symptoms associated with a high absolute monocyte count, including frequent unexplained fevers, high sensitivity to bright light, occasional chills, tendonitis and a sore throat. Other symptoms that may also be present include a recent loss of appetite, a current GI infection or a history of dysentery.
How Is a High Absolute Monocyte Count Diagnosed?
A complete blood count is a commonly prescribed diagnostic blood test that provides a great deal of information regarding the condition of an individual's blood, and it can also bring to light possible disease indicators. A monocyte blood count test is part of a complete blood count, and the test also provides an overall white blood cell count. An individual can request a complete blood count if it is not suggested. Where a high absolute monocyte count has been identified in a patient, a thorough medical history and physical exam may prove useful in determining the cause.
How Is a High Absolute Monocyte Count Treated?
Because a high absolute monocyte count is not an actual medical condition but a symptom of another illness or disease, the type of treatment available depends on the underlying cause. When the main cause of monocytosis is infection, a doctor will generally prescribe a course of antibiotics. A bone marrow transplant may cure the disorder.
An individual may adopt a healthier lifestyle that incorporates regular exercise, weight management and adequate sleep in an attempt to reduce, or at the very least control, the monocytes count in his or her body. Diet may also have a part to play in maintaining the correct level of monocytes. Foods that are rich in antioxidants can help to boost the immune system, thus reducing the risk of infection and inflammation. Broccoli, grapes, spinach, onions, garlic and beans are high in antioxidants. Omega-3 fatty acids, such as fish liver oil supplements, are also beneficial in reducing inflammation.