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What is low monocyte count?

Q: I am a 37 years old male with skin discolouration below my right knee. My doctor asked me to get a complete blood test, which reported that my monocyte count was very low. The result mentioned normocytic, normochromic blood picture. What do these results mean?

A:Monocytopenia is the reduction in the number of circulating monocytes below the biological reference interval. Monocytes are a type of white blood cells (WBCs) that are capable of phagocytosis i.e. engulfing foreign material and are involved in chronic inflammations. They also regulate the immune function and help repair tissues. Normally, about 1%-9% of circulating WBCs are monocytes and their numbers is said to be reduced when they are less than 300 cells/ml. These cells may be reduced if an individual is taking steroids or some other drugs, in severe infections and some types of cancers. Normocytic, normochromic is the normal appearance of the red blood cells when you examine a stained blood smear under the microscope. It means that the red cells are of normal size and normal pink-red colour.

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