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Monocytes are a type of white blood cell that have a very important role in the body. They are produced in the bone marrow and, from there, enter the bloodstream.

Having high monocytes is what is known as monocytosis. It is a reaction of the body to an attack by virus or bacterial infections. Although in the vast majority of cases this reaction responds to infections or infections of a mild nature, such as a cold or a sprain, it can also be caused by a serious illness, such as leukemia.

To keep monocytes at normal levels it is important to lead a healthy lifestyle. This implies maintaining good sleep hygiene, eating a balanced diet, and doing physical exercise.

The normal values of monocytes in blood are:

  • Women: between 130 and 850 / µl
  • Men: between 130 and 850 / µl
  • Children: between 130 and 850 / µl

What are monocytes?

Monocytes are a type of white blood cell present in the body that help fight infection effectively. In addition, they participate together with leukocytes in the elimination of dead tissues, as well as in the destruction of cancer cells.

Monocytes are produced in the bone marrow, from where they enter the bloodstream . They represent between 1 and 10 percent of total white blood cells, which is a count of 200 to 600 monocytes for each microliter of blood. From the bloodstream they pass into the tissues, where they are transformed into macrophages.

The macrophages are the most important cleaning the immune system cells, so that sumplen an essential role for the body to function properly.

There are certain abnormalities that can affect the function of both monocytes and macrophages. These disorders cause the accumulation of lipids inside cells.

The increase in monocytes in the bloodstream is called monocytosis. It occurs as a response to a certain chronic infection, as well as in some blood disorders and in certain types of cancer.

In the vast majority of cases, high monocytes do not cause any symptoms. However, patients can suffer different signs of the disease as a result of this alteration.

Monocyte functions

The main function of monocytes is to protect the immune system against any type of virus or bacteria that wants to enter the body.

It is the bone marrow that is responsible for producing this cell. From there, the monocytes begin what is known as the maturation process, after which they are perfectly prepared to attack viruses and bacteria. The work that monocytes do in the immune system as a protective shield is called phagocytosis.

The phagocytosis is the process by which the bodies and damaged cells that are present in the body, then destroy identified. Once the damaged membranes are located, the monocytes are responsible for expelling them from the body.

Causes of high blood monocytes

The monocitosis is an alteration of normal levels of blood monocytes, above 850 monocytes per microliter. It is possible to appreciate this increase in the percentage of monocytes with respect to the total of white blood cells. However, to obtain a more accurate diagnosis, it is more convenient to do an analysis to determine the values ​​of monocytes in absolute terms.

Slightly elevated levels (850 – 1000 / µl)

When the levels of monocytes in the blood are between 850 and 1000 / µl it means that they are a little elevated, but without being a cause for concern. There are experts who consider them even within normality.

This alteration is due to a mild infection , which is not of great importance. In the vast majority of cases, it is not even necessary to apply medical treatment.

Moderately high levels (1000 – 1500 / µl)

Taking into account that monocytes tend to be activated by certain reactions in the body , these levels may be related to various infections or inflammatory disorders.

One of the most common causes is a recent infection from a virus, such as a cold or sinusitis . These levels can also respond to an injury with inflammation, such as a sprain. In these types of disorders, monocytes act effectively to combat these types of situations.

Very high levels (1500 – 4000 / µl)

When monocyte levels in the blood exceed 1500 µl, the patient is most likely suffering from a severe inflammatory disease.

  • Sarcoidosis : Sarcoidosis is a disorder characterized by the development of granulomas in any area of ​​the body, but especially in the lymph nodes and in the lungs. Although the exact cause is not known, experts consider it to be a response of the immune system to an unknown substance. The most common symptoms are swollen lymph nodes, fatigue, and weight loss for no apparent reason.
  • Tuberculosis : tuberculosis is a bacterial infection that especially attacks the lungs, but can also damage other areas of the body. It is important to note that this disease is spread through the air. The most frequently recurring symptoms are: coughing up blood, fever , chills and night sweats, weakness, fatigue, and weight loss.
  • Mononucleosis: This is an infectious disease that occurs mostly in children and adolescents. The symptoms of mononucleosis are a sore throat, fever, and swollen lymph nodes. In some cases, the spleen can also become inflamed, although this is not common.
  • Leukemia: Leukemia is the name for blood cancer. The bone marrow produces abnormal white blood cells, which lead to symptoms such as sweating, weakness, fever, loss of appetite, and nausea.
You may also be interested in:   Low platelets (Thrombocytopenia)

Extremely high levels (1500 – 4000 / µl)

When monocyte levels in the blood exceed 4000 µl, it is a reason for urgent medical consultation. It indicates the presence of some type of leukemia, so it is important to see a doctor as soon as possible.

Monocytosis: symptoms, diagnosis and treatment

The high monocytes are called monocitosis. Although the symptoms can vary greatly from one patient to another, there are some signs that are repeated in almost all cases: fatigue, extreme tiredness, weakness, fever if there is an infection, chills and night sweats. Also, patients lose weight for no apparent reason.


In order to make a diagnosis of this alteration, it is essential to carry out a blood test to analyze the composition of the blood.

Similarly, a very high new monocyte in the blood can lead to various complications . They are diseases that affect the proper functioning of the bone marrow and blood, limiting the body’s ability to fight viruses and bacteria.

The immune system is affected by these types of disorders. Therefore, patients are at risk of serious complications , even when the origin is in a mild infection.


The monocitosis is not a disease in itself, but another underlying disorder. Therefore, the treatment to be applied in patients is that indicated to cure the main disease. Once cured, the monocytes will return to their normal level, thus ceasing to be high.

In the vast majority of cases it is a mild alteration due to infection or inflammation. The medications are helpful to speed up and improve the healing process.

In any case, it is essential to see a doctor to make a diagnosis and determine the cause of the increase in monocytes .

How to reduce high monocyte levels in the blood?

As we have indicated, the increase in monocyte levels in the blood can be caused by various inflammatory or infectious processes . Therefore, the main advice is to go to the doctor to diagnose the disease and apply the most appropriate treatment for it.

If it is an inflammatory process, regular physical exercise can be of great help to reduce monocytes. In addition, exercise favors having a healthy weight and enjoying a good quality of life.

Low monocytes

Finally, we want to point out that there is also the possibility that monocyte levels are low. In this case, the main cause is the administration of some drugs, such as chemotherapy. The steroids indicated for the treatment of diseases such as lupus or arthritis can also lead to monocyte levels below normal.

In addition, certain diseases such as HIV , malaria or tuberculosis can also respond to this alteration. In children, the most common cause is nutritional deficiency.

Any type of alteration, upward or downward, in monocyte levels , can be a determining factor in a person’s state of health. If you have high levels, you probably have a disease. That is why it is so important that you go to the doctor.

Remember that high monocyte levels respond to an infection, in the vast majority of cases of a mild nature. The stress can also trigger an increase in monocytes.

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Hello Readers, I am Nikki Bella a Psychology student. I have always been concerned about human behavior and the mental processes that lead us to act and think the way we do. My collaboration as an editor in the psychology area of ​​Well Being Pole has allowed me to investigate further and expand my knowledge in the field of mental health; I have also acquired great knowledge about physical health and well-being, two fundamental bases that are directly related and are part of all mental health.

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