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Question : My lymphocyte count is 52 percent. My white blood cell count is 5,400. Do I need to worry?
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The Trusted Source
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Howard LeWine, M.D.

Howard LeWine, M.D., is chief editor of Internet Publishing, Harvard Health Publications. He is a clinical instructor of medicine at Harvard Medical School and Brigham and Women's Hospital. Dr. LeWine has been a primary care internist and teacher of internal medicine since 1978.

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June 09, 2011
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A:

What a blood test result means for you depends on why your doctor ordered the test. But it is very unlikely that you need to worry about your lymphocyte count.

The lymphocyte count on a blood sample is measured as a percentage of the total number of white blood cells. In addition to lymphocytes, there are other types of white blood cells, including granulocytes. These are usually the main white cell type in a blood sample. Lymphocytes are next, with a range of 15% to 40%.

Although the blood test report gives the percentage of lymphocytes, the absolute number of lymphocytes per cubic centimeter of blood is more helpful. This count is calculated by taking the total white blood cell count and multiplying it by the percentage of lymphocytes.

A high lymphocyte count is defined as an absolute lymphocyte count of 4,000 or greater. Doctors call this lymphocytosis.

Your absolute lymphocyte count is normal. So you do NOT have lymphocytosis.

Multiplying your total white blood cell count times 52% equals 2,808 lymphocytes. This is well below the 4,000 number that defines lymphocytosis.

So why might your percent of lymphocytes be a little high? The most common cause is a recent viral infection, such as a cold or the flu. But you could feel perfectly fine and have this test result.

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