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Glossary of Terms

White Blood Cells

White blood cells, also called leukocytes, help the body fight against infections. The number of white cells in the blood is often an indicator of disease, with more white cells being created during an infection. In addition to fighting against disease, white cells defend the body against foreign materials.

White blood cells, like red blood cells, are produced in the marrow. White cells have the unusual ability of being able to leave and enter the blood stream at will, traveling to other body tissues when needed.

Granulocytes, a type of white blood cell, act as scavengers and are able to remove bacteria and debris or dying tissue from damaged or infected areas. Another type of white blood cell, lymphocytes, are involved in the production of antibodies. A count of the number of white cells indicates whether this mechanism of bodily defense is at work. During an infection, the white count will be elevated.

Related link: Leukemia

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