White Blood Cells

What Does An Elevated Lymphocyte Count Mean

What Does An Elevated Lymphocyte Count Mean

When you go through a blood test, you may sometimes hear that you have a high lymphocytes count, this is a common condition after a disease or illness, known as lymphocytosis but it can be a serious problem if it persists. Here at oneHOWTO, we are going to tell you what an elevated lymphocytes count means and every thing you need to do to lower its levels.

You may also be interested in: What Is The Normal Range Of Lymphocyte Count
  1. What does it mean?
  2. How much count is considered as ‘high’?
  3. How to know if you have an elevated lymphocyte count
  4. What causes high lymphocyte count?
  5. When to contact a doctor

What does it mean?

Lymphocytes are a type of white blood cell that are found in our body and have a very important role to play in our immune system. These help you in fighting against diseases, and remain protected and healthy. If you have recently gone through an infection, disease or illness, then it is common for your body to have a high lymphocytes count, also known as lymphocytosis.

Most commonly, it means that you have a viral infection, but sometimes, it may also mean an autoimmune disorder or a certain form of cancer or Leukemia. Go to section 4 to know about all the possible causes of a high lymphocyte count or lymphocytosis.

How much count is considered as ‘high’?

If you are an adult, and have more than 3000 lymphocytes (<40%) in one micro-liter of blood, then it is already considered a high lymphocyte count, also known as lymphocytosis. You should know that a low lymphocyte count can also entail consequences, so we advise you to check what is the normal range of lymphocyte count,

In children, this threshold may vary with age, but can be as high as 7000 to 9000 lymphocytes in one micro-liter of blood. The exact measurements may even vary from one laboratory to the other.

You should know that there are two types of lymphocytosis:

  1. Monoclonal lymphocytosis: Also known as MBL, the blood test will show a low level of for CLLs (>5000 per micro-liter of blood). Though it is not a genetic disorder, people over 40 years old may have a higher predisposition to it if it has run in the family and increases with age.
  2. Polyclonal lymphocytosis: Also known as PPBL (persistent polyclonal lymphocytosis), will show a stable MBL, which is how it can be told apart from the latter. PPBL does not need to show such a high lymphocyte count as MBL either. Caucasian, young and smoking women are those with a higher risk factor.

How to know if you have an elevated lymphocyte count

Usually, the person having high lymphocyte count, a condition medically termed as Lymphocytosis, shows no physical symptoms. This means that you will never know about it unless you go through a blood test for another reason, and your doctor identifies it alongside. There is no treatment for the condition as well, and it can be managed only by handling the underlying cause.

Once the tests are in, if you have noticed that you have a high lymphocytes count, it is highly important you take the results to your GP so he or she can take further tests to determine the cause.

What Does An Elevated Lymphocyte Count Mean - How to know if you have an elevated lymphocyte count

What causes high lymphocyte count?

If you have been diagnosed with elevated lymphocyte count you should know that there are two types of lymphocytosis or high lymphocyte count: monoclonal and polyclonal, and both have different causes.

Causes of monoclonal, or primary, lymphocytosis

Monoclonal lymphocytosis is a proliferative condition where the number of lymphocytes increases as the result of a lymphoid-related disorder. It is caused by:

  • Lymphoid tumours
  • Prolymphocytic leukaemia (PLL)
  • Hairy cell leukaemia (HCL)
  • Lymphomas with leukaemic expression
  • Large granular lymphocytic leukaemia
  • Acute lymphoblastic leukaemia (ALL) and chronic lymphocytic leukaemia (CLL). Leukaemia is a type of blood cancer in which the bone marrow is replaced by the early forms of white blood cells. ALL is a type of leukaemia where large numbers of immature, underdeveloped white blood cells, known as blasts, are produced in the bone marrow. Lymphoblasts, which are immature lymphocytes, are a type of blast present in cases of ALL. CLL is a type of leukaemia that is characterised by the presence of an excess amount of mature lymphocytes. It is the most common type of leukaemia in adults, particularly in the elderly and predominantly affecting males more than females. The most common signs and symptoms are the swollen lymph nodes, fatigue and weight loss.

Causes of polyclonal, or reactive, lymphocytosis

Polyclonal lymphocytosis occurs ahead of an inflammatory or infectious process. It can be caused by:

o Viral infections:

o Bacterial infections:

  • toxoplasmosis
  • tuberculosis
  • brucellosis

o Poisoning from certain substances, such as lead, benzene etc.; metabolic disorders, such as diabetic or uremic acidosis; and certain vitamin B12 treatments.

o Acute causes:

  • septic shock
  • acute heart failure
  • surgery
  • drug addiction
  • transfusions

o Chronic causes:

  • smoking
  • removal of the spleen (splenectomy)
  • autoimmune diseases and chronic inflammation, such as Crohn's disease, ulcerative colitis and vasculitis.

if you do have a high lymphocyte count that is due to a bacterial or viral infection, take a look at our article on how to lower high lymphocytes.

When to contact a doctor

Elevated lymphocytes count is found mostly when you are already experiencing a condition, and your doctor has ordered a test to diagnose it. This means that in most cases, lymphocytosis is discovered by chance, and is usually an unexpected detection. When you have your tests in your hand, talk to your doctor about the possible causes and consequences, and discuss the best treatment procedure for your condition.

This article is merely informative, oneHOWTO does not have the authority to prescribe any medical treatments or create a diagnosis. We invite you to visit your doctor if you have any type of condition or pain.

If you want to read similar articles to What Does An Elevated Lymphocyte Count Mean, we recommend you visit our Diseases & secondary effects category.


  • Talk to your doctor about your high lymphocyte count to learn if it is relevant enough or not.
Write a comment
What did you think of this article?
Penny Dec
My lymphocytes are 57.5% and my absolute lymphocytes are 4900 what should I do. I do have an autoimmune disease but don't know what one this has been going on for years and I am at a loss.
Please let me know what I should do.
Beverly A Carter
Is a lymph% of 53.1 too high. the lab standard where it was dine is 20.0-40.0
satish kumar
my lymphocyte count is 44 %...please advice
Agnes Huels
my lymphocyte count is 44.1% is this too high
Thank you so much for excellent article, and I have learned so much.
OneHowTo Editor
We are very glad!
Carol Roughton
My elevated lymphocyte count is 5.1. What does this mean? My primary care doctor wants me to see a hemotologist/oncologist. Scary!
nickia hebb
I recently went to the hospital and I have graves disesase and my lymphocytes count was 51% but my other test results were fine ..what does that mean by my lymphocytes being elevated by 51%
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Nickia
A high lymphocyte count can occur after illness or can be a sign of a serious illness. If your high lymphocyte count does not remit, we recommend consulting your doctor.
My WBC and Lymph # has been elevated (high) starting in 2013 and in every blood test since and only just noticed when all blood test were looked at together. Could this indicate a serious problem and what type of further testing should be recommended if any?
OneHowTo Editor
Hi Dennis
If you have a high lymphocyte count that persists, we recommend consulting a doctor to rule out any possibility of pathology.
I received a copy of my bloodwork from my doctor and it says I have a 4200+ Lymphocytes level. He said because I was having pain from my Fibromyalgia, it could just be that. Should I be concerned?
OneHowTo Editor
High lymphocytes could be a reflection of the pain you experience when having Fibromyalgia. Always follow your doctor's recommendations, but if you are not satisfied you can always get a second opinion from another doctor.

Best of luck
my lymphocitis test was 59% what does dis mean
Monika goman
My lymphocytes is 45% and i am 24. What should i do?
OneHowTo Editor
You should take the results to your doctor so he/she can take a look at the underlying reasons behind this reading.
Hope this helps
My Lymphocyte count is 61% and i am 48. Should I start writing a will?
OneHowTo Editor
As you can read above, there are a number of reasons why you may have an elevated lymphocyte count, such as viral infections, bacterial infections or other chronic causes such as being a smoker. Therefore, you should show your doctor the blood test results, as he or she is the only person who can diagnose you properly.
Hope this helps
Does a lymphocyte count of 49.9 indicate any stage of acute HIV infection (2-6) weeks? How does a slightly low neutrophil count influence a high lymphocyte count?
Could taking doxycycline for one month 3 weeks prior to blood count influence lymphocytes? Would use of hgh in weight training explain a high lymphocyte count and thereby possibly discount or not any acute hiv infection? I have three negative hiv test results dating March 22, April 4th and April 11th.
Thank you
OneHowTo Editor
As you can see, there are many reasons why you may have an elevated lymphocyte count that are not necessarily related to HIV. As I understand you had an infection due to the fact you took doxycyline, if you have had a viral infection not long before taking the blood test, the elevated lymphocyte count may be due to this. Low neutrophils may also indicate viral infection too.
Hope this helps
Yolanda Taylor
my son lymphs was 58 24-54% he is 12 years old is that to high
OneHowTo Editor
In children, the number of lymphocytes tends to be higher so, unless your doctor says otherwise, there should be nothing to worry about.
Hope this helps
anurag sharma
my lymbhocytes is 51 ,monocyctes is 01.mchc is 32.5,it.i am using foracort 400 doc.rx for 3 month & antiallergic tab.it will be ok or not i dont wnt to habituatd mdcn plz suggest about my health of report how can i healty properly now i feel some tiredness if i walk 200 mtrs
My son is 4yrs 6mths
Pav 35%
W B C 10400
Neutrophil 20%
lymphocytes 77%
monocyte 0.3%
eosinophil nil
Basophils nil
male 33ys.
43.7neutrophils,43.74 lymphocytes
4.83eosinophils,7.71monocytes mean?
OneHowTo Editor
It is not a very high count, so there's no need to worry if you're recovering from a disease or surgery. If it keeps increasing you may want to discuss the results with your doctor.
Hope this helps
My son is 3 years 4 month old
Hemoglobin : 8.0 (14-18) Men G/dl
Blood test result:
Neutrophils : 31% (40-75%)
Lymphocytea : 65% (20-50%)
Eosinophils : 02% (01-06%)
Monocytes : 02% (06-10%)
Other :PCV:26.1 MCV :61
Bilirubin Total 0.57 mg/dl ( 0-1.0)
Bilirubin direct 0.11 mg/dl (0-0.3)
Bilirubin Indirect 0.46 mg/dl (-)
Kindly tell me is this report okay or not
If not ok than what should i do
Waiting for ur reply
OneHowTo Editor
As we've mentioned in this article, the amount of lymphocytes in children can double and even treble the amount adults have without having to worry, so the best thing to do is to discuss the results with the doctor. However, at a first glance there should be no need to worry.
Hope this helps
I was recently hospitalized for severe uncontrolled hypertension - in my routine blood test the following was found - but never addressed by my doctor . Should i be concerned and get with them for further testing?

BUN 25 mg/dL
GFR 59 mL/min
MCHC 33.6 g/dL
ANION GAP 17 mmol/L

I was also diagnosed with lucent/lytic bone lesions of the C2/C3 following an auto accident - do these numbers mean i am at risk of myeloma?
OneHowTo Editor
Dear Cynthia,
Your blood test results seem to be fine and within near normal ranges. If you are concerned, it's best you talk to your doctor about the results.
Hope this helps
Dear Editor:
So the fact neutrophils are low at 39% & lymphcytes are high at 49% - these are within normal range? how do you figure that?

normal range 48-77 %
normal range 14-40 %
Is a Lymphocytes 43.7 high and WBC of 6-15 high also.
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What Does An Elevated Lymphocyte Count Mean