Blood tests may include a blood differential test that has the purpose to measure the percentage of each type of white blood cell, including the Neutrophils. This test can also reveal whether there are any immature or abnormal cells.
The leukocytes or white blood cells include five types of cells:
The test is usually performed by using a specially designed machine that helps the health care provider to count the number of each type of cell. The test can show whether there is more or less of a particular type of cell, or if the cells number is in proper proportion.
The white blood cell differential test includes the measurement of the number of neutrophils cells. Each cell type has a specific role in helping you stay healthy and protecting the body. A higher than normal number of monocytes or lymphocytes is found in people suffering of some type of cancers. Some treatments for cancers, in particular chemotherapy, can lead to a decrease of your body white blood cells. Caners that affect the bone marrow and the blood, such as lymphoma, leukemia, or multiple myeloma, can also cause a decrease of your white blood cells. Cancer treatments and some type of cancers can also cause a deviation from the neutrophils normal range. An abnormal low level of neutrophilis cells is called neutropenia. The number of neutrophils cells in the blood is measured by the absolute neutrophil number count. The neutrophils normal range is considered to be between 2500 and 6000.
A number of neutrophils lower than the neutrophils normal range also increases the chances of bacterial infections. Neutophils are having a role in preventing infections and for this reason they should stay in the neutrophils normal range. In case of lower count your physicians may choose to give you medication for white blood cell growth and decrease the dose of your chemotherapy. Neutrophil levels may be lower because of myelosuppressive therapy based on imatinib mesylate. The normal percentage of neutrophils is usually in the range of 45% to 70%. Neutropenia has become more easily to control due to new generation drugs such as Lenograstim, Pegfilgrastim, and Filgrastim.
The absolute neurophil count is usually more relevant than the percentage of neutrophils but in case that the blood counts are suppressed by chemotherapy the overall counts are low and the procentage of neurophils will be higher. In normal individuals usually the number of neutrophils is higher than the lymphocytes number in the white blood cells, with a usual count of three neutrophils for each lymphocyte. In CLL patients this ratio is changed and the lymphocytes increase in number in the white blood cells count due to the proliferation of CLL B-cells.
Among the interpretation for an abnormal higher number of white blood cells are blood diseases such as leukemia, an immune response, or inflammation. Increased percentages of neutrophils can be a sign of acute stress, acute infection, gout, eclampsia, trauma, myelocytic leukemia, thyroiditis, rheumatic fever, or rheumatoid arthritis while a decreased percentage may be a sign of chemotherapy, radiation therapy aplastic anemia, viral infection, influenza, or bacterial infection.