What are Leukocytes?

Also called the white blood cells, Leukocytes are important blood components and also play a key role in the immune system. There are several different types of leukocytes, each having a specific function in your body. If you have a high count of leukocytes in your blood, it could be an indication of the presence of an underlying disease or infection. Likewise, when you have a low count (leucopenia), it could be an indicator of some medical problems.

Leukocytes are broken to two major types namely: agranulocytes and granulocytes.

1. Agranulocytes

Agranulocytes are broken to lymphocytes making about 20-40 percent of all the leukocyte count. It includes cells, B cells, Monocytes and natural-killer cells.

Agranulocytes cell membranes do not have granules. Monocytes constitute about 2-9 percent of the leukocyte count are have been designed to give the lymphocytes antigens so that the immune system can be stimulated. The cells ultimately mature and become macrophages which are specialized leukocytes that neutralize foreign material by engulfing it.

2. Granulocytes

Granulocytes are of three types namely Neutrophils, Eosinophils and Basophils. Granulocytes contain small material granules in the cell membrane. The granules are released to kill fungi, bacteria and any other invader.

Eosinophils have been designed in a manner that enables them to attack all parasites. They also have a role when it comes to allergic reactions. Neutrophils target fungi and bacteria, whereas Basophils have a hand in your immune response. A person considered to have normal levels of leukocyte has 50-60 percent Neutrophils, 1-4 percent Eosinophils and Basophils are less than two percent.

Leukocytes in Urine

Your urinary system is made up of the bladder, urethra, kidneys and ureters. If an analysis (urinalysis) is made and leukocytes get detected in your urine without any traces of nitrates, it could be an indication that you have a urinary system infection.

The normal leukocytes levels in your urine should be about 0-10lev/vl. Should the level go beyond 20lev/vl, you have an underlying medical problem and, therefore, you need medical attention as soon as possible.

1. Symptoms of Leukocytes in Urine

  • Blood in the urine
  • Shivering and fever
  • Frequent urination
  • Cloudy, foul-smelling urine
  • Painful and burning sensation when urinating
  • Systemic lupus erythematosus or bladder tumor
  • Kidney inflammation

2. Causes of Leukocytes in Urine

  • Bladder Infection. Also called cystitis (ureters and urinary tract inflammation) leads to presence of leukocytes in your urine.
  • Kidney Infection. Such as pyelonephritis can increase the number of leukocytes in your urine. This is an infection which occurs in your urinary tract then spreads to your kidney. However, people whose immune systems are weak are the ones at risk of having kidney infection and those who have been using urinary catheters for prolonged durations.
  • Urinary System Blockage. This may lead to hematuria which is presence of blood in your urine. Obstruction scan be caused by trauma, bladder/kidney stones, pelvis tumor, unnecessary foreign bodies or prostate hypertrophy in your urinary tract.
  • Pregnancy. If you are pregnant, finding leukocytes and protein in your urine is a normal occurrence and shouldn't warrant worry. However, if the presence of these two substances persists and are more than a few traces in your urine, you need to consult your doctor so that they can tell whether you have a bladder infection.
  • Other Causes. During sexual intercourse, bacteria might get in the urethra hence presence of leukocytes in your urine. You can also find leukocytes in your urine when you hold the urine in for too long. The bladder is overstretched and becomes weak, making it unable to empty itself. The urine left over can cause the formation of bacteria thereby causing bladder or urinary tract infections.

3. Treatments for Leukocytes in Urine

Treatment for leukocytes in urine depends on the infection cause. Antibiotics clear the infection well. When you also avoid the mentioned situations, if possible, you can prevent getting urinary tract infections and the appearance if extra WBC's in your urine to eradicate that infection.

Should the infection reach extreme levels, seek immediate medical attention to get the necessary treatment. There are some cases where hospitalization will be essential.

Leukocytes Disorders and Diseases

Fluctuation in the number of blood cells in your body post great health risks to humans. Having a WBC count that is severely depleted may indicate a possibility of contracting a severe infection, one which his/her immune system is unable to fight. Treatment used for leukocyte count abnormalities is inclusive of several different techniques.

  • AIDS. This is a disease which results from leukocyte infection by the virus known as HIV. The HIV virus enters your body's cells, hijacks its activities and forces it to produce more viruses until that cell dies. Once the cell has died, the produced viruses enter your bloodstream where they infect more leukocytes/WBC. Overall, your leukocyte count is destroyed or decreased, leaving you with an immune system that does not function.
  • Leukemia. This is a type of cancer which develops as a result of your white blood cells. In normal conditions, leukocytes are formed inside your bone marrow thus creating different types of blood cells. In leukemia, cells that are used to make blood cells mutate creating many leukocytes. The leukocytes are not able to function normally, so your blood eventually gets flooded with excess but useless leukocytes.
  • Agranulocytosis. This condition occurs when your blood has limited Neutrophils. The cells that are responsible for the creation of blood produce limited Neutrophils, which do not meet your body's needs. This, in the end, makes it hard for your body to fight infections.
  • Neutropenia. This is the condition whereby your body has limited Neutrophils. Neutrophils help your body fight off fungal infection and bacteria. Therefore, with little Neutrophils count, your immune system is weakened thereby making it vulnerable to attacks by infections and bacteria.
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