To judge the state of health of the baby, the doctor must regularly monitor the results of the blood test of a small patient. One of the most important indicators of this analysis is the ratio of leukocyte cells. Monocytes are a kind of leukocytes, their blood level is able to tell a lot to a competent specialist. How many monocytes is considered normal for a child and what does it mean if they are raised or lowered?
Monocytes are rather large blood cells that have a single nucleus, resembling a bean in shape. They are formed in the bone marrow, fully mature there, and then enter the blood. The life cycle of these cells in the circulatory system – three days, then they penetrate into the tissues and organs, where they are converted into macrophages.
The functions of monocytes are very diverse, but the main one is the purification of blood. Dr. Komarovsky very accurately paid attention to this ability of monocytes, calling them “the caretakers of the body.” However, these cells perform a number of other tasks:
- fight against harmful microorganisms trapped in the blood;
- remove dead cells from the body;
- involved in the resorption of blood clots;
- prepare the soil and conditions for the birth of new cells;
- are an active participant in the formation of new blood.
Since monocytes are a type of white blood cell, their value is calculated in relation to the total number of this cell type. In this case, the normal percentage of such particles varies depending on the age of the child. Their number in the blood of infants, preschoolers and adolescents of the total number of leukocytes should be within the following limits:
- newborn – from 3 to 12%;
- children from 0 to 2 weeks – 5-15%;
- children from 14 days to 1 year can have – 4-10%;
- from 1 to 2 years – 3-10%;
- from 2 to 16 years old – 3-9%;
- teenagers from 16 to 18 years old – up to 8%.
The required percentage of monocytes is calculated depending on the age of the child.
However, the table covers only the relative values of this indicator. The analysis can also indicate the absolute values of the content of these cells in relation to the total amount of blood. In children under 12 years of age, the value may vary within
The main causes of low levels
Monocytopenia (a reduced number of monocytes) is spoken when the number of the patient is zero or it does not exceed 2 percent. What could be the reasons for the decrease in the level of this type of white blood cells (we recommend reading: the reasons for the decrease in the level of white blood cells in a child’s blood)? As a rule, the root of the problem lies in the suppression of immunity, which provoke various conditions. Monocytes in a child may be absent altogether or be below normal if:
- the baby is exhausted, constantly lacking nutrients;
- a child has anemia due to vitamin B12 deficiency;
- the patient recovers after surgery;
- baby SARS;
- the patient is in the process of hormone therapy;
- the baby has a deep wound, there are suppurations, or boils;
- the patient is in shock;
- during treatment with chemotherapy and radiation;
- the child has an injury;
- the baby suffered deep stress.
Causes of elevated monocyte levels
If the results of the tests indicate the volume of monocytes above 9% (or above 11% for children under 2 years of age), we can speak of monocytosis – an increased number of this type of white blood cells. Why does monocytosis occur? This condition may develop as a result of the body’s response to an infectious disease, and may be the result of a malfunction of the bone marrow that occurs with some gemmological problems.
Monocytosis can be relative and absolute. It is clear that the first is diagnosed by relative indicators. One can speak of absolute monocytosis when cells of the same name exceed the value
However, the increase in the content of these cells leukocyte number may be due to pathologies and diseases. Of these, you can select the following:
- infectious diseases;
- fungal infection;
- the presence of parasites in the body;
- gastrointestinal tract diseases;
- diseases of autoimmune nature;
- blood disorders;
- various injuries;
- the patient during the operation, or immediately after it.
Some diseases of the gastrointestinal tract can lead to an increase in the number of monocytes.
Experts say that the increase in the level of monocytes is due to the body’s attempt to resist infections. Such symptoms are most pronounced in the period after an acute viral disease (ARVI, scarlet fever). Also, the body can activate the production of monocytes during the period of dentation (teething) and during their prolapse.
Pediatricians believe that absolute monocytosis indicates that the body is currently struggling with a serious infection that is fraught with complications. In this case, the relative monocytosis only makes it clear that the child has suffered a disease in the recent past, and at the moment the doctor sees only its consequences.
Monocytosis combined with an increase in other indicators
What can be said about the deviation of the number of monocytes from the norm in combination with an increase in the level of other blood parameters? A competent specialist will certainly appreciate the ratio of all blood test values - lymphocytes, erythrocytes, ESR. Let us give examples of the most probable variants of deviation from the norm of those or other indicators and decipher their values:
- In collaboration with monocytes, lymphocytes often work. If both types of these cells are exceeded, this indicates that the body is fighting infection. Their growth also often accompanies the postoperative period, which is a good sign. At this time, lymphocytes can reach 72% in children under one year old and 60% in those who are older (more details in the article: elevated lymphocytes in the blood of a child — what does this mean?). However, if the levels of monocytes and lymphocytes are increased during a viral disease (measles, scarlet fever, rubella, chickenpox), there is a chance that a bacterial infection has joined the main disease. It can be inflammation at the injection sites, purulent throat, as well as all sorts of dermatitis.
The increase in the number of lymphocytes and monocytes suggests that the body is actively fighting infection
- Monocytes can grow with eosinophils, indicating an infectious disease. Mononucleosis is the most likely cause (we recommend to read: what is the disease of mononucleosis in children, and how is it treated?). The same picture is observed with fungal and viral diseases, as well as tuberculosis, syphilis, sarcoidosis. However, high monocytes and low eosinophils are characteristic during the period of recovery from severe viral diseases.
- Estimation of the number of leukocyte cells allows you to get the most clear picture of the disease. At the same time, it is important for the physician to check an indicator such as ESR (erythrocyte sedimentation rate) (we recommend reading: what should be the ESR in children?). If the pediatrician has doubts about whether to pay attention to the elevated level of leukocyte cells, the increased erythrocyte sedimentation rate will indicate that there is an inflammatory process in the body. However, this indicator is inertial, it grows only a day after the onset of the disease and returns to normal also after the recovery. In this regard, the leukocyte cells and ESR in the complex will help the specialist to make the correct diagnosis.
Elevated or reduced monocytes are not the only symptoms of a disease. In this regard, the doctor must take into account other signs, as well as complaints from the patient, in order to make the correct diagnosis. To bring this indicator back to normal, it is necessary to determine the underlying disease, which was the cause of this condition. Only proper treatment can return blood counts to normal limits.