Elevated blood monocytes in a child
Monocytes are the largest of all white blood cells and play an important role in protecting the child’s body from germs and inflammation. The level of these cells in the patient’s blood has a direct effect on health. Monocytes protect against viral, bacterial, fungal, and protozoal infections, to which an immature child organism is especially sensitive. However, elevated monocytes in a child are a signal of danger.
Features of childhood monocytosis
Elevated blood monocytes in a child is a common pathology called monocytosis. This factor is a reason enough to contact a specialist and conduct a comprehensive diagnosis. By itself, this is not a separate form of nosology, but rather a symptom of certain diseases, some of which are not life-threatening, and some can even lead to death.
Monocytes are the largest type of white blood cells. 2-10% of the total number of leukocytes are monocytes. These cells circulate in the blood for several days before they enter the tissue, where they become macrophages or dendritic cells. They kill microorganisms, absorb foreign particles, remove dead cells and enhance the immune system response.
Types of pathology
In modern medicine, 2 types of monocytosis are distinguished: relative and absolute.
With a relative increase in the percentage of cells, but against the background of the normal total number of other types of white blood cells (due to a decrease in the number of other varieties of white blood cells).
The diagnosis of “absolute monocytosis” is made if the results of the KLA are marked “increased monocytes abs.”.
It is important to understand that elevated blood monocytes in a child can lead to a decrease in the percentage of other types of white blood cells.
Cell functions in the body and normal values
These protective cells in the blood are produced directly in the bone marrow. They all come from common parental cells called hematopoietic stem cells. The monocyte production process is called myelopoiesis. Monocytes live on average 3 days. After they fulfill their function, such cells undergo apoptosis (programmed cell death).
In cases where the result of AK shows that the monocytes in the blood of a child are elevated, it means that some inflammatory process is going on in the body. Then the monocytes live longer, and as soon as the inflammation passes, cell death occurs.
Normal range for monocytes in children:
At birth – 3-12%;
2 weeks of life – 5-15%;
From 6 months to 1 year – 4-10%;
From 1 year to 16 years – 3-9%.
In adults, the level should not exceed 8%.
However, normal is not the same as optimal. To find out an individual norm and diagnose elevated monocytes in a child, appropriate diagnostics should be carried out.
Causes of Monocytosis
Elevated blood monocytes in a child can be associated with a number of conditions:
Blood diseases (myelodysplastic disorders, acute monocytic, chronic myelomonocytic leukemia, Hodgkin’s lymphoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma).
Infections (viral infections, tuberculosis, bacterial endocarditis, malaria, brucellosis, syphilis).
There is another non-infectious reason that is important to remember. If monocytes in the blood of a child are always elevated, then this is a sign of dangerous pathologies: oncology (leukemia) or systemic diseases, for example, SLE (systemic lupus erythematosus).
A condition with high monocyte counts most often occurs during and after chronic inflammation or infection. Symptoms associated with monocytosis itself rarely appear. Instead, symptoms mainly come from diseases associated with monocytosis.
In children, these symptoms include:
Swollen lymph nodes;
Depending on the reasons, monocytosis may be accompanied by different symptoms, depending on the disease that led to monocytosis.
How to diagnose elevated monocytes in a child
A differential blood test measures the percentage of each type of white blood cell (WBC) in the blood. It also shows if there are any abnormal or immature cells in the body. No special training is required.
How is the test conducted:
A medical professional takes blood from a patient’s vein. Blood is collected in an airtight container.
In infants and young children, blood is taken from the heel or finger stick. Blood is collected in a small glass tube, on a glass slide or test strip.
A cotton or dressing can be applied to stop any bleeding.
A laboratory specialist takes a drop of blood from a sample and lubricates it on a glass slide. The smear is stained with a special dye, which helps to determine the difference between different types of white blood cells.