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What is an alarming level of monocytes?

Monitoring monocyte levels in the blood is essential, as extremely high or low counts can signal underlying health conditions, necessitating further medical assessment and attention.

  • 28 Nov 2023
  • 3 min read

Monocytes are white blood cells that help your immune system fight infections and inflammation. They are produced in your bone marrow and circulate in your blood and tissues. Monocytes can transform into macrophages or dendritic cells, specialised cells that destroy germs or alert other immune cells to join the fight.

But what happens when you have too many monocytes in your blood? This condition is called monocytosis, and it can indicate various health problems. In this blog post, we will explain what causes monocytosis, what is an alarming level of monocytes, and what you can do to prevent or treat it.


What level of monocytes is dangerous?

The “normal” range of monocytes is 2-8% of the white blood cells available in your body. This level works out to some 200-800 monocytes in every microlitre of blood. For those unaware, a microlitre equals the size of a pinhead.


This range is considered normal in the medical field. However, if the monocyte level in your body is more than the 8% upper threshold, you could be a candidate for a monocytosis disease.


Common infections causing monocytosis include:

  • Tuberculosis
  • Endocarditis
  • Syphilis
  • Lupus
  • Rheumatoid arthritis
  • Inflammatory bowel disease
  • Leukaemia or lymphoma 
  • Myelodysplastic syndrome, or myeloproliferative neoplasm


At the other end of the spectrum, if the monocyte levels are below 2%, you could be diagnosed with monocytopenia.


This disease may arise from one or a combination of the following conditions.

  • Viral infections, including measles or influenza
  • Sepsis
  • Meningitis
  • Aplastic anaemia
  • Use of medications such as immunosuppressants or steroids 


Hence, to answer the question “What level of monocytes is dangerous?”, we need to look at the lower and upper limits.

Also read:


Monocytosis and monocytopenia can be dangerous as they affect your immune system, making you vulnerable to infections or other complications. If you have an abnormal monocyte count, you should see your doctor to determine the cause and get the proper treatment. You can also maintain a healthy lifestyle, such as eating well, exercising regularly, managing stress, and avoiding smoking and alcohol. Doing so can boost your immune system and prevent or reduce the risk of complications from monocytosis.

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