Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Anxiety And Low White Blood Cell Count

And What Factors Affect White Blood Cell Count

How Stress Affects Your White Blood Cells (WBCs) and Immune System

White blood cells are the immune cells in your body. They circulate in your bloodstream and work as guardians to help protect you from viruses, bacteria, and other infectious organisms.

Maintaining a normal level of healthy white blood cells can help reduce the risk of infection and is a key component of overall health. If you have a low WBC count, called leukopenia, you may be at an increased risk of developing infections.

Importantly, you don’t want extremely high levels of white blood cells. Increased WBC levelsknown as leukocytosisare a sign the body is responding to a stressor. Stressors that increase WBC levels can be physical, such as an infection, cancer, or an autoimmune disorder, or emotional.

This article discusses the function of white blood cells, the causes of increased and decreased white blood cell counts, and the medications and habits needed to maintain a healthy white blood cell count.


What Are Symptoms Of Low White Blood Cells

If you have a low white blood cell count, you may:

  • Have repeated fevers and infections.
  • Get bladder infections that may make it painful to pass urine, or make you urinate more often.
  • Get lung infections that cause coughing and difficulty breathing.
  • Get mouth sores.
  • Get sinus infections and a stuffy nose.

How Can Doctors Tell If My White Blood Cell Count Is Low

Doctors can tell you have a low white blood cell count by doing a routine complete blood count . If you’re getting treatments or have a disease that can lower your white blood cell count, doctors check your CBC often.

Sometimes, the cause is obvious, such as if youre getting chemotherapy or radiation therapy for cancer.

If the cause isn’t clear, doctors may do:

  • Blood, urine, and imaging tests looking for infection

  • Bone marrow biopsy

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What Foods Increase White Blood Cells

Vitamin C increases WBC production, which is key to fighting infections. Almost every citrus fruits are high in vitamin C. With such a variety to choose from, its easy to add a few squeezes of this vitamin to any meal.

Also, you should eat foods high in protein, such as:

Most of you dont know how to boost white blood cells. So I have shared a few tips in the upcoming section.

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When Should I See A Doctor About A Possible Low White Blood Cell Count

What Does a Low White Blood Cell Count Mean?

Ask your doctor if he or she is concerned about your white blood cell count and if you will need additional tests. If your white blood cell count is low, and you feel like you have an infection, contact your healthcare provider right away.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 01/12/2018.


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Does Anxiety Cause Anemia

An interesting question though is whether or not anxiety can actually cause anemia. It’s unlikely that anxiety can lead to dangerous levels of anemia, but it may be possible for anxiety to contribute to the development of mild anemia.

Studies have rarely looked at the effects of anxiety on vitamin metabolism. But there are reasons to believe that stress does have an effect. For example, as many as 25% of the country is already magnesium deficient. During times of severe stress, the body actually uses up magnesium in the body. Thus those with anxiety may already have low magnesium, and then be using up what they do have when they’re experiencing anxiety attacks. It’s possible this leads to the development of mild anemia.

Hyperventilation also uses up magnesium. Since many people with anxiety hyperventilate, a large number may be contributing to a magnesium deficiency and ultimately anemia.

Anxiety can also affect the immune system, which may have an effect on anemia. It can also cause poor eating habits these too may cause you to become more anemic.

These are all unexplored, but absolutely possible links between anxiety and anemia.

The Effects Of Stress On White Blood Cells

Stress can be a positive or negative event. Getting married or buying a new home can be just as stressful as financial or health problems. Stress becomes a problem when it occurs on a regular basis with no break and creates feelings of being out of control or overwhelmed. Even a low level of stress can have negative effects if it becomes chronic. Stress can alter many systems of the body, including the immune system 3. To help prevent complications it is important to understand the role stress plays on the activity of the white blood cells.

If you are experiencing serious medical symptoms, seek emergency treatment immediately.

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What Happens During A White Blood Count

A health care professional will take a blood sample from a vein in your arm, using a small needle. After the needle is inserted, a small amount of blood will be collected into a test tube or vial. You may feel a little sting when the needle goes in or out.

To test children, a health care provider will take a sample from the heel or the fingertip . The provider will clean the heel or fingertip with alcohol and poke the site with a small needle. The provider will collect a few drops of blood and put a bandage on the site.

Types Of Wbcs And Their Functions

My white blood count is low: Should I Worry?

Several types of white blood cells are found in your body, and each has specialized functions. The major WBC types are:

  • Neutrophils: These cells make up the majority of the white blood cell population. Neutrophils are the primary cells responsible for responding to bacterial infections.
  • Lymphocytes: Lymphocytes are the second most common white blood cell subtype. The lymphocytes include T cells and B cells, which help support the immune system’s response to infections, cancers, and other stresses.
  • Eosinophils: These white blood cells are primarily responsible for allergies and responding to parasitic infections.
  • Monocytes: These WBCs are the first to respond to an infection. These blood cells include macrophages and dendritic cells and can be elevated in autoimmune disorders and chronic infections.

WBCs fight infection and are also an integral part of the bodys ability to fend off cancer. Since cancer cells are foreign to the body, white blood cells such as lymphocytes can help eliminate cancer cells.

Some cancers can evade detection by the immune system, but medical advances have created new therapies and treatments that use white blood cells to detect and target cancer, such as checkpoint inhibitors and cell therapies.

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Study Links Depression Scores White Blood Cell Count

Researchers across four health care systems, including Vanderbilt University Medical Center, have found that increased depression polygenic scores are associated with increased white blood cell count, highlighting the importance of the immune system in the etiology of depression.

Despite a wide understanding of depression as a psychiatric disorder, depressions underlying biological effects are still poorly understood, says Lea Davis, PhD, associate professor of Medicine, investigator in the Vanderbilt Genetics Institute and an author of the JAMA Psychiatry paper.

We know that theres a strong relationship between depression and several chronic health conditions, and we also know theres a relationship between depression and inflammation, Davis said.

What we dont know is exactly how theyre connected, which condition causes the other or if theres something underlying that causes both.

To answer that question, Davis and the research team, which consisted of researchers from VUMC, the Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, Mass General Brigham and the Million Veteran Program, studied two groups people who had depression and people who did not, but were at a high genetic risk for developing depression.

The team found a strong connection between depression polygenic scores and white blood cell count.

Cross-institutional collaboration is a necessity when it comes to understanding things like depression, Davis says.

Database And Study Sample

The healthy aging in neighborhoods of diversity across the lifespan study is an ongoing prospective cohort study initiated in 2004 that recruited a representative sample of African Americans and whites aged 3064 years old and living in Baltimore, MD, USA. The HANDLS design consisted of an area probability sample of 13 neighborhoods , with a first phase at baseline that screened and recruited participants and administered a household interview. At phase II, in-depth examinations in mobile medical research vehicles were conducted. Written informed consent was obtained after access to a protocol booklet in layman’s terms along with a video describing all the procedures and future re-contacts. The MedStar Institutional Review Board approved all the materials. Longitudinal data from baseline and the first follow-up examination were used in this study.

In addition, for Hypothesis 2, the final sample size consisted of participants with complete WBC variables at either wave and complete data on CES-D total score at wave 1 , with similar selectivity patterns as for Sample 2A.

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Are There Any Risks To The Test

After a blood test, you may have slight pain or bruising at the spot where the needle was put in, but most symptoms go away quickly.

There is very little risk to your baby or child with a needle stick test. Your child may feel a little pinch when the site is poked, and a small bruise may form at the site. This should go away quickly.

Foods That Increase Wbc Counts

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If your white blood cell level is low, there are changes you can make to try to increase it. Always consult with a healthcare professional before starting any new treatments, including diets, that may disrupt your WBC count. Very low WBCs are medical emergencies that require prompt treatment.

A healthy diet, rich in vegetables, and protein is a good way to maintain a healthy immune system.

A Mediterranean diet, which consists of whole grains fruits and vegetables beans, nuts, and seeds healthy fats moderate amounts of fish and poultry and limited amounts of red meat, has been shown to help boost white blood cell levels. Foods such as blueberries, strawberries, and leafy green vegetables can help reduce the risk of developing certain immune disorders. These whole foods are a good source of antioxidants, which can help support the function of a healthy immune system.

As much as possible, look to get your nutrients and antioxidants from foods. You should consult with a healthcare professional before starting any supplements.

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Causes Of Increased White Blood Cell Counts

There are many causes of elevated WBC counts. WBC levels can rise due to the following:

  • Bone marrow failure
  • Autoimmune disorders

If you have a low white blood cell count, you should ask your healthcare provider to determine the cause and the best course of treatment. In some cases, a very low white blood cell count can increase your risk of developing serious infections.

Causes Of A Low White Blood Cell Count

Common causes of a low white blood cell count are:

  • Medications and cancer treatments, such as some antibiotics, chemotherapy, and radiation therapy
  • Bone marrow cancers and bone marrow disorders, including aplastic anemia and multiple myeloma
  • Infectious diseases, including human immunodeficiency virus and severe infections

White blood cells are made in the bone marrow and circulate throughout the body. Diseases, toxins, medications, or medical treatments that harm the bone marrow can prevent enough white blood cells from being produced. Some medical conditions can also cause the destruction of white blood cells.

Usually, having low white blood cells is a sign of chronic disease. But sometimes medications or infections can temporarily cause this problem due to the destruction of white blood cells. This should resolve once the infection clears up or the medication is discontinued.

Benign ethnic neutropenia is a cause of inherited chronic neutropenia . It is seen mostly in people of African, Middle Eastern, and West Indian descent worldwide. It does not increase a person’s risk of infection.

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Why Do Doctors Check Your Wbc Count

The WBC count is usually included in a test that measures your complete blood count . A low white blood cell count or a high blood cell count may indicate an infection or an undiagnosed condition such as a blood disorder, an autoimmune diseases or an immune deficiency. The WBC count can help doctors detect and provide treatment for these potential conditions as well as help monitor the effectiveness of radiation treatment or chemotherapy for cancer patients.

How Can You Better Manage Your Stress Levels

Is low white blood cells a sign of cancer?

Stress reduction strategies not only give your mind a break, but they can also relieve the pressure on your immune system. You can take steps to reduce short-term and long-term stress, Dr. Calabrese says. Two tactics are most effective:

  • Meditation : Meditate for 10 minutes to 15 minutes three or four times weekly to lower your stress. It reduces your cortisol levels and reduces inflammation. Research also shows it helps prevent the breakdown of your chromosomes that leads to cancer and premature aging.
  • Yoga: Practicing yoga also lowers stress hormone levels and calms your nervous system to reduce inflammation. Deep breathing helps boost your resistance to infection. Inverted poses in yoga help circulate fluid through your lymphatic system, filtering out toxins.
  • Stress in acute situations, however, can be healthful and protective, so its not all bad for us. Remember: its chronic stress that we seek to control.

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    Is There Anything Else I Need To Know About A White Blood Count

    White blood count results are often compared with results of other blood tests, including a blood differential. A blood differential test shows the amount of each type of white blood cell, such as neutrophils or lymphocytes. Neutrophils mostly target bacterial infections. Lymphocytes mostly target viral infections.

    • A higher than normal amount of neutrophils is known as neutrophilia.
    • A lower than normal amount is known as neutropenia.
    • A higher than normal amount of lymphocytes is known as lymphocytosis.
    • A lower normal amount is known as lymphopenia.

    Similar Symptoms For Different Diseases

    Many people convince themselves they have anemia because it’s hard for them to believe that their symptoms could be caused by anxiety. Anemia is not that uncommon either, affecting roughly 5 to 10% of the population.

    But many of those are pregnant women and those born with red blood cell diseases.

    The symptoms of anxiety especially panic attacks and anemia are very similar, so it is no wonder that so many of those living with anxiety convince themselves anemia must be the cause. Both anxiety and anemia cause:

    • Shortness of breath

    However, while anemia may cause these symptoms, it also often leads to other, more serious problems that cause hospitalization. Similarly, the symptoms above are also caused by an issue that is far more common hyperventilation. As many as 50% of those with panic attacks or more hyperventilate, along with millions of people with anxiety.

    So while it’s possible to be anemic, it’s also very likely that you simply have symptoms of panic attacks and hyperventilation, both of which are more common and more likely to lead to these issues especially if you have a healthy diet.

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    Symptoms Of Low White Blood Cells

    You wouldnt expect to have direct symptoms of low white blood cells. But when these cells are low, it causes the immune system to be weak. With a weak immune system, medical problems can arise and these problems will often cause symptoms.

    Infections are the most common effect of a low number of white blood cells. The infections can be more frequent and more severe than what you would experience if you had a healthy immune system. Lacking white blood cells can also make it difficult for you to heal from injuries or recover from illnesses.

    Symptoms that you may experience from complications of having a low white count include:

    • Painful urination, blood in the urine, urinary frequency
    • Skin sores that dont heal
    • Mouth sores, mouth pain

    The symptoms that accompany a low white blood cell count can vary and depend on what’s causing the low count. For example, a bladder infection can cause urinary symptoms, and a stomach infection can cause nausea and vomiting.

    Sometimes a lack of white blood cells leads to opportunistic infections, which are infections that wouldnt normally develop in a person with a healthy immune system.

    Cancer is another potentially serious effect of low white blood cells. These immune cells normally recognize and destroy abnormal cancer cells, and a white blood cell deficiency can allow cancer cells to multiply and spread in the body.

    How Is Anxiety Treated

    High white blood cell count: Causes, types, and other imbalances

    After a mental health professional or doctor has diagnosed you with anxiety, there are different treatment options available to help with symptoms. These options include:

    • Psychotherapy. This is therapy thats done with a psychotherapist. Talking to a therapist can help identify root causes of anxiety and any triggers that you may have. According to the American Psychiatry Association , nearly 75 percent of people who try talk therapy find it beneficial.
    • Medication. There are several different types of medication that you can take that may help reduce your symptoms of anxiety.

    Finding help for anxiety

    If youre experiencing symptoms of anxiety that interfere with your daily life, help is available here:

    If youre having thoughts of harming yourself, talk with your doctor, call 911, or go to the nearest emergency room right away.

    In addition to these treatment options, there are many things you can do to help reduce and manage your anxiety. These include:

    • avoiding alcohol and caffeine

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