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What are high absolute monocytes?

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Quick Answer

Monocytes are one type of white blood cell, and they are seen when a white blood cell differential test is conducted. A high absolute monocyte count may be the result of several different factors and usually requires further testing to determine the cause.

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What are high absolute monocytes?
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Full Answer

A high absolute monocyte count can be the result of a viral infection such as mononucleosis or measles. Acute stress and autoimmune diseases may raise the level of monocytes in the differential. Parasites can also cause an increased monocyte count. In some cases, a more serious disease may be indicated by a high monocyte count, such as tuberculosis, chronic inflammatory disease, or leukemia. Chronic bowel disease, heart infections, and rheumatoid arthritis may also be indicated if a high absolute monocyte count is noted on blood work. A bone marrow biopsy is usually performed if further blood testing doesn't reveal the source of the increased monocytes.

Monocytes are made in an individual’s bone marrow. They account for approximately 1 to 10 percent of all white blood cells found within the body. After monocytes enter the bloodstream, they eventually end up in the spleen, where they transform into macrophages. Macrophages rid the body of debris and old cells and help regulate the body’s immune responses.

A complete blood count, or CBC, 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 CBC, and the test also provides an overall white blood cell count, or WBC. If you are concerned that your monocyte count may be irregular after a CBC or other blood test, be sure to consult your doctor.

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