What does a high white blood cell count mean?

The following conditions can cause white blood cell counts to be high:

  • Viral or bacterial infection
  • Inflammation
  • Excessive physical or emotional stress (such as fever, injury, or surgery)
  • Burns
  • Immune system disorders such as lupus or rheumatoid arthritis
  • Thyroid problems
  • Certain medicines, including lithium, corticosteroids, and beta agonists (used to improve breathing)
  • Removal of the spleen
  • Smoking
  • Obesity

More serious conditions that may cause high white blood cell counts include blood disorders, including:

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