Internist Questions Blood Tests

What do high lymphocytes mean?

I just got my blood work back from my physical and had elevated lymphocytes. I am worried, what could this mean?

9 Answers

Probably some viral infection
Without knowing the exact lymphocyte count, I would generalize as follows. In a young person, the elevated count could simply reflect a recent viral infection. In an older person( i.e. >55 ) chronic lymphocytic leukemia has to be considered.
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White blood cells come in several forms. One of these are Lymphocytes. Granulocytes are increased in response to acute events (stress, infection... ) and lymphocytes are elevated in response to chronic events ( inflammation, infection... )
Sometimes high lymphocytes is a reflection of chronic diseases but occasionally it can be just a normal finding. If your total white blood cell count is elevated and lymphocytes are elevated then you need further work up but otherwise you should probably be ok.
Your primary care doctor can counsel you on this.
Many people have a high lymphocyte count as their normal. This is very common in those of African and Mediterranean descent. As long as you feel fine and the lymphocytes are not reported as abnormal, atypical, or immature, this is very likely normal for you. Your doctor can run a special test, immunophenotyping, to further characterize the lymphocytes which will determine if they are normal or worrisome.
This is an incredibly broad question. Lymphocytes may be elevated because that's your normal, but it goes up from reaction to virus, chronic inflammation, or you could simply have what's called demargination. On it's own, one reading means nothing. Have it repeated, then see.
Usually a viral illness. Needs to be evaluated. I do not want to worry you so I will not give you all of the differential diagnosis. 99% you will be ok. But needs to be checked out. M.Pietruszka,M.D. 818-705-1157
If lymphocyte count is very high, yes it is worrisome and needs further work up while mild elevation is insignificant.
It depends on how high and is it the absolute number of lymphocytes, or the percentage. It all makes a difference with this being only a variance of result outside the norm, and therefore nothing of concern, to a serious problem. See your doctor.
High lymphocytes can be from infection. It is a good question to ask whoever ordered the test to see if they were looking for something specific or not. It also depends how high the lymphocytes are. Talk to your doctor about this.