What are the diagnostic causes of high red blood cell count and white blood cell count?

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Karen P.L. Hardison eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Blood level counts are used diagnostically, whether red or white blood cells and whether low or high counts. While not all information is available and while diagnosis is strictly in the hands of physicians, some general information about high white blood cell and red blood cell counts is as follows.

In general, white and red blood cell counts can indicate general conditions such as allergies, infections, and dehydration. A high red blood cell count, called a high hematocrit, can indicate the presence of smoking, kidney disease, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), or a low blood oxygen level like in heart disease.

A high white blood count, called leukocytosis, can indicate the presence of leukemia, infectious disease, severe physical stress, burns, pneumonia, or inflammatory disease like arthritis and allergy.