What Causes a High Lymphocyte Count?

A diagram of the effects of leukemia, showing a high lymphocyte count.
Influenza can cause a high lymphocyte count.
Virus infections may cause a high number of lymphocytes in the blood.
A diagram showing different types of white blood cells, including lymphocytes.
Article Details
  • Written By: Meshell Powell
  • Edited By: Melissa Wiley
  • Last Modified Date: 16 June 2014
  • Copyright Protected:
    2003-2014
    Conjecture Corporation
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Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell that is made by the immune system to fight disease. A high lymphocyte count usually means that a person has a viral infection, although it can also indicate some autoimmune disorders or certain forms of cancer. Some of the specific illnesses that may cause this symptom include hepatitis, mononucleosis, and Crohn's disease. Whooping cough, influenza, and leukemia may also lead to it. There is no specific treatment for this symptom, and management is dependent upon the underlying cause. Any specific questions or concerns about a high lymphocyte count in an individual situation should be discussed with a doctor or other medical professional.

Hepatitis is a medical term used to describe inflammation of the liver and is one potential cause of a high lymphocyte count. This illness can cause symptoms such as a yellowing of the skin and eyes, fatigue, and abdominal pain or swelling. Treatment options may include lifestyle changes, the use of prescription medications, or surgical intervention.

Mononucleosis is a viral illness that causes extreme fatigue and is most frequently seen in adolescents and young adults. Blood tests often reveal the presence of a high number of lymphocytes, medically known as lymphocytosis. Treatment involves rest and the use of over-the-counter medications to treat additional symptoms such as headache or sore throat.

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Crohn's disease is a type of autoimmune disease that leads to chronic inflammation of the digestive tract. In addition to a high lymphocyte count, symptoms may include abdominal pain, diarrhea, and weight loss. Treatment for this condition can be complicated and may include nutritional therapy, the use of over-the-counter and prescription medications, or surgery.

Whooping cough and influenza are respiratory illnesses that may cause a high lymphocyte count. Also known as pertussis, whooping cough involves severe bouts of coughing followed by a whooping sound and may be prevented by the use of routine vaccinations. Treatment normally consists of prescription antibiotics, and cough medications are not usually helpful. Influenza, more commonly referred to as the flu, causes fatigue, fever, and respiratory distress and can be deadly in extreme cases. Increased fluids and rest are the usual treatment recommendations, although prescription antiviral medications may sometimes be needed.

Leukemia is a form of blood cancer and is known to lead to a high lymphocyte count. Fatigue, increased infections, and pain in the joints or muscles are common symptoms. Chemotherapy or radiation treatments may be helpful in battling this potentially fatal disease. In some cases, a bone marrow transplant may be needed in an effort to preserve the life of the patient.

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Discuss this Article

anon954374
Post 17

My WBC court is 7700, neutrophils 74 and my lymphocytes count is 22. I have a back rash and pins and needles sensation. What could be the cause?

anon949986
Post 16

What can I do to decrease the lymphocytes?

anon343297
Post 15

My white blood cell count is 6300,and my lymphocytes count is 56. Are there any problems with this count?

anon331375
Post 14

I had some blood work, and my lymphocytes level are high.

anon267695
Post 3

I have a white blood county of 42,500; my hemoglobin is 12.2gms; my red blood count is 3.2; my platelets are 2.2 and my lymphocytes are 90 percent. Is there an danger to my health?

MissDaphne
Post 2

@rugbygirl - Yes, lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell. I actually remember that ER episode particularly well because I heard about a girl in real life that that happened to. I'm a teacher, and this was not one of my students but was a little girl who had been friends with a lot of them. (She didn't go to our school, but they went to the same dance academy.)

She had been a healthy, happy eleven-year-old girl, one of several siblings. And then one day she was just gone. She had leukemia and no one knew.

I know all about poor Martha Ann and her family because my students wrote personal essays that year. I got several about Martha Ann. For many of them, it was the first person they knew who died, and obviously it was even more upsetting being someone their own age.

rugbygirl
Post 1

Lymphocytes are white blood cells, right? I remember that tearjerker ER; after Mark Green died, there was a flashback episode that showed him treating the son of a woman who was joining the show as a new doctor.

The nurse had drawn an extra vial of blood from the son, who I think had suffered some sort of collapse. When she went to get it, the red cells were on top, I think, and the bottom was whitish clear.

Everyone went quiet when they saw it. They knew it meant his white blood cells were out of control - that he had leukemia, and he wasn't going to make it. People think of leukemia as a slow sort of disease like other cancers, but apparently in children it can strike fast and suddenly.

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