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White blood cells play an important role in the immune system of an individual. The white blood cell count is done routinely as part of a complete blood count and further studies are usually needed if abnormalities are discovered through this test. An unusually high white blood cell count can indicate an infection or a blood disorder such as leukemia. However, a low white blood cell count will make an individual susceptible to infectious diseases or allow multiplication of organisms within the body which are normally kept in check by the immune system.
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Chronic: Usually Chronic illness: Illness extending over a long period of time.
Immune System: A complex that protects the body from disease organisms and other foreign bodies. The system includes the humoral immune response and the cell-mediated response. The immune system also protects the body from invasion by making local barriers and inflammation.
Leukemia: Cancer of the lymph glands and bone marrow resulting in overproduction of white blood cells (related to Hodgkin's disease).
White Blood Cell: (WBC): A blood cell that does not contain hemoglobin: a blood corpuscle responsible for maintaining the body's immune surveillance system against invasion by foreign substances such as viruses or bacteria. White cells become specifically programmed against foreign invaders and work to inactivate and rid the body of a foreign substance. Also known as a leukocyte.