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Neutrophils (NEU) - description and reference ranges

What is it?

Neutrophils (NEU # and NEU %) are a form of white blood cell and make up part of the immune system. Their most important function is fighting against bacterial infections. There are two values provided, the numerical count (NEU #) and their percentage of cells (NEU %).

Alongside lymphocytes, neutrophils are one of the most abundant type of white blood cells. Neutrophils are particularly important for fighting against bacterial infections. Raised levels of neutrophils are therefore suggestive of a bacterial infection although they may also be raised from other causes of inflammation, during pregnancy, or if you are taking steroid medication.

Reference ranges

If your neutrophils count is lower than the reference range for our laboratory:

This is also known as neutropenia. There are a number of possible causes for this incuding deficiencies in certain vitamins (such as B12 and folate), autoimmune conditions, certain infections and, rarely, some forms of blood cancer. People from black African and Caribbean backgrounds also tend to have a low neutrophil count which, in this case, is perfectly normal and healthy. We would suggest speaking to your GP to discuss the need for further investigation.

If your neutrophils count is higher than the reference range for our laboratory:

This is also known as neutrophilia. This is most commonly a sign that your body is fighting a bacterial infection but can also be caused by inflammation in the body, certain medications and, in rare cases, some forms of blood cancer. You should speak to your GP to discuss the need for further tests or treatment.

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