Blood cells are normal in
shape, size, color, and number.
Red blood cell (RBC)
Conditions that cause high RBC values include smoking,
exposure to carbon monoxide, long-term lung disease, kidney disease, some
cancers, certain forms of heart disease, alcoholism, liver disease, a rare
disorder of the bone marrow (polycythemia vera), or a rare disorder
of hemoglobin that binds oxygen tightly.
Conditions that affect the
body's water content can also cause high RBC values. These conditions include
dehydration, diarrhea or vomiting, excessive sweating,
and the use of
diuretics. The lack of fluid in the body makes the RBC
volume look high. This is sometimes called spurious polycythemia.
White blood cell (WBC, leukocyte)
Conditions that cause high WBC values include infection,
inflammation, damage to body tissues (such as a
heart attack), severe physical or emotional stress
(such as a fever, injury, or surgery), kidney failure,
rheumatoid arthritis, malnutrition,
leukemia, and diseases such as cancer.