Neutrophilia

Overview

What is neutrophilia?

Neutrophilia happens when your body produces too many neutrophils. Neutrophils are a type of white blood cell. Your white blood cell count normally consists of five types of white blood cells, with neutrophils accounting for most of your white blood cells. Neutrophils help you fight infection. But sometimes, your neutrophils stay in the fight longer than necessary.

If your bloodstream is teeming with too many neutrophils, you may develop leukocytosis or a high total white blood cell count. You may have symptoms such as fevers or recurring infections. Tests to assess your neutrophil count may indicate more serious illnesses. Healthcare providers treat neutrophilia by treating the underlying problem or illness.

Symptoms and Causes

What causes neutrophilia?

Neutrophilia is your body’s reaction to an assortment of problems, from serious blood disorders to an everyday infection to a stressful day at work. Neutrophilia causes are classified as primary and secondary.

What are primary neutrophilia causes?

You can be born with neutrophilia. Other causes include:

  • Chronic myelogenous leukemia. This blood cancer affects your white blood cells.
  • Essential thrombocytosis (ET). This is a rare disorder where your body produces too many platelets.
  • Polycythemia vera. This is a blood disorder that happens when your bone marrow produces too many red blood cells.
  • Juvenile myelomonocytic leukemia (JMML). This is a rare blood cancer that typically affects children and happens when certain white blood cells don’t mature normally.
  • Chronic neutrophilic leukemia. This is a rare blood cancer that happens when your bone marrow makes too many neutrophils.

What are secondary neutrophilia causes?

Secondary neutrophilia causes are linked to various infections, inflammation caused by medical conditions and your body’s reaction to stress. Secondary causes include:

What’s the difference between neutrophilia and neutropenia?

Neutropenia happens when your neutrophil count is lower than normal. You can develop neutropenia from infections or some cancer treatments.

What are neutrophilia symptoms?

Neutrophilia itself typically doesn’t have symptoms. A high white blood cell count may be a sign of underlying conditions that may cause symptoms such as:

  • A temperature of 100.4 degrees Fahrenheit (38 degrees Celsius) or higher.
  • Feeling weak or tired.
  • Feeling dizzy or faint.
  • Recurring infections
  • Sores that don’t heal.
  • Swollen or painful joints.

Diagnosis and Tests

How do healthcare providers diagnose neutrophilia?

Because neutrophilia can be a sign of underlying medical conditions, healthcare providers typically do a physical examination, looking for signs of infection, inflammation or blood disorders. Tests might include a complete blood count (CBC). Among other things, this test shows your total white blood cell count, and how many of those white blood cells are neutrophils

What is a normal neutrophil count?

Your normal neutrophil count can vary based on factors such as your age. Generally, a normal neutrophil level is 1,450 to 7,500 neutrophils per microliter. Neutrophilia happens when you have more than 7,500 neutrophils per microliter. Leukocytosis happens when you have more than 11,000 total white cells per microliter.

Management and Treatment

How do healthcare providers treat neutrophilia?

Neutrophilia isn’t a condition that can be treated. It’s a sign of underlying conditions, such as infection and inflammation. Neutrophilia may also be a sign of more serious conditions like blood disorders and blood cancer. Sometimes, neutrophilia is your body’s reaction to medication or stress.

Prevention

How can I reduce my risk of developing neutrophilia?

Generally speaking, neutrophilia can’t be prevented. You can be born with neutrophilia or develop it because you have another medical condition. If you don’t have a serious underlying condition, you can reduce your risk by taking care of your body. For example:

  • If you smoke, try to quit.
  • Maintain a healthy weight.
  • Find ways to manage stress.
  • Protect yourself against seasonal infections such as the flu.

Outlook / Prognosis

What can I expect if I have neutrophilia?

If you have neutrophilia, your prognosis, or expected outcome, depends on the underlying cause. Talk to your healthcare provider about your specific case and what you can expect from treatment.

Living With

How do I take care of myself?

Neutrophilia is a sign of underlying problems. Once you know what’s causing your neutrophilia, you can take steps to manage the underlying condition.

When should I see my healthcare provider?

You should contact your healthcare provider any time your neutrophilia symptoms or other conditions’ symptoms get worse or you develop new symptoms.

What questions should I ask my healthcare provider?

Neutrophilia happens when your body produces too many white blood cells. There are lots of reasons why neutrophilia happens. Some questions you might want to ask your healthcare provider so you understand why you have neutrophilia include:

  • How do you know I have neutrophilia?
  • What’s my white blood cell count and what’s a normal white blood cell count range?
  • I don’t feel sick. Why is my white blood count so high?
  • Does having neutrophilia mean I have cancer or will develop cancer?

A note from Cleveland Clinic

Neutrophilia happens when your body produces too many neutrophils, a type of white blood cell that fights off infections. You may find out you have neutrophilia after routine blood tests or blood tests to learn why you’re not feeling well. Either way, a larger-than-normal neutrophil count is your body’s reaction to changes. If blood tests show your neutrophil count is higher than it should be, your healthcare provider may do additional tests to find out why so they can treat the underlying condition.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 02/07/2022.

References

  • Merck Manual. Neutrophilic Leukocytosis. (https://www.merckmanuals.com/home/blood-disorders/white-blood-cell-disorders/neutrophilic-leukocytosis) Accessed 2/7/2022.
  • Riley LK, Rupert J. Evaluation of Patients with Leukocytosis. (https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/26760415/) Am Fam Physician. Accessed 2/7/2022.
  • Rosales C. Neutrophil: A Cell with Many Roles in Inflammation or Several Cell Types? (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5826082/) Front Physiol. Accessed 2/7/2022.
  • Tahir N, Zarah F. Neutrophilia. (https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/books/NBK570571/) StatPearls. Accessed 2/7/2022.

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