What is an Absolute Neutrophil Count?

The absolute neutrophil count, better known as the ANC is used to measure how many neutrophil granulocytes are available in the blood of a person. Lab technicians and doctors calculate an individual's ANC based on the amount of white blood cells (WBC) in the body, usually combined on a percentage of immature (also known as bands) and mature neutrophils. The ANC can be either too high or too low based on various possible health conditions.

Generally, it is measured indirectly through multiplying the WBC count times the neutrophils percent in the white count differential. A normal range should be between 1.5 and 8.0 that translates to 1500/mm3 to 800/mm3. When the level of a patient is safe, it simply means that no activities should be restricted.

Functions of ANC

Neutrophils help the body in fighting against infections. When they are low in the body of a person, for instance, he/she becomes vulnerable to infection and illness. Sometimes, this happens following various causes such as marrow or blood transplant, and radiation or chemotherapy treatment. It will eventually rise as the new blood cells are developing and maturing.


If the blood of an individual is found to have less than 500 ANC, then is said to be low. Several things contribute to a low absolute neutrophil count, leading to a condition known as neutropenia. Some of its causes include Folic acid or B12 deficiency, Severe bacterial infection that can cause harm to neutrophils, Aplastic anemia, Preleukemia and Leukemia, Autoimmune diseases, Hypersplenism, medication effects, Dialysis, Felty's Syndrome and Cardiopulmonary Bypass.

High ANC

If a neutrophil count goes beyond 8000 it is then believed to be high. High ANC is also caused by various causes. These causes include high level of stress, sudden bacterial infection, sudden kidney failure, Eclampsia, cancer, myeloid metaplasia, Polycythemia Vera, and Ketoacidosis.

Medication effects are found to be one of the major causes that lead absolute neutrophil count being either low or high. This is because some medications may trigger spikes in the neutrophil counts. The corticosteroids are a good example of a medication that is used to raise the amount of ANC when it's low. These particular medications behave almost in the same manner the hormone of a natural corticosteroid would behave in the person's body. These hormones completely control the way the body uses nutrients. It also controls the water and salt content of the urine.

Remedies for both conditions

Treating neutropenia needs you to find the main causes of the problem. Once the causes are determined as to why the ANC count drops or raises, a doctor will advise on the best treatment available. However, the most common remedies include:

  1. The administration, which is used to track the growth of white blood cells in the body.
  2. The use of antibiotics - they are good in fighting infections that probably cause the drop or rise of neutrophils count.
  3. Granulocyte Transfusions - In this case, certain WBC is filled with the microscopic granules to help increase the number of white blood cells in the system.
  4. Corticosteroid Therapy - Mineralocorticoids and glucocorticoids are the two hormones made mostly by the outer part of an adrenal gland. They both support the health of neutrophil.

Last yet importantly, it is important to seek a recommendation from a physician or doctor if intending to try any of these remedies. Different bodies react or respond differently to various remedies.