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What Do High TLC And DLC Levels On A Blood Test Report Mean?

TLC and DLC tests are useful for measuring the number of white blood cells and the percentage of each kind of WBCs in the body

What Do High TLC And DLC Levels On A Blood Test Report Mean?

TLC and DLC are common blood tests


  1. TLC and DLC are common blood tests
  2. TLC test determines number of WBCs in the blood
  3. DLC test determines the percentage of each kind of WBCs in the blood

A blood test report comprises numerous results about our range of complete blood count (CBC), haemoglobin (Hb), platelets, red blood cells (RBCs) and white blood cells (WBCs) to name a few. Among these, a TLC (total leukocyte (white blood cells) count), DLC (Differential Leukocyte Count) tests are some of the most common kind of blood tests that are suggested by doctors. While a TLC determines the number of WBCs in the body, a DLC is done to measure the percentage of each type of white blood cell or leukocyte in your blood.

What is a TLC?

TLC is a test that determines the number of WBCs in our body. WBCs determine the body's ability to fight diseases. Any deviation in the number of WBCs in the body implies a disease process.

The normal range of TLC is 4000 - 11000 cells/ cubic millimeter of blood.

Decrease in number of WBCs will result in decreasing the body's ability to fight infections and diseases, thus making the body more prone to health risks. It is known as leukopenia. This may happen to patients who are undergoing chemotherapy. Other conditions that a low WBCs count might lead to are influenza, typhoid, malaria, dengue and tuberculosis.

Also read our expert answer: What does my thyroid function test suggest?

An increase in the number of WBCs is known as leucocytosis, where the body produces a lot of WBCs. It is a common occurrence among people who are acutely sick and also among new born babies. This may lead to viral, fungal, bacterial or parasitic infections, traumas or inflammation, rheumatic arthritis, acute stage of gout, connective tissue disorders, infections or inflammatory conditions of the urinary bladder and leukemia or blood cancer.

Also read our expert answer: What do high levels of TLC and DLC mean?

What is a DLC?

A DLC blood test is one which measures the percentage of every single type of WBCs in the body. There are five types of normal WBCs in the blood. Their respective normal range in adults is as follows:

Neutrophils or Polymorphs: 40 - 60%

Lymphocytes (B and T cells): 20 - 40%

Monocytes: 2 - 8%

Eosinophils: 1 - 4%

Basophils: 0.5 - 1%

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Band or young neutrophils: 0 - 3%

Speaking on the relevance of TLC and DLC blood tests, our expert Dr Gita Prakash, says, "These are one of the most common blood tests that we do. It tells us if there is any fever, urine infection, cough, etc." 

She goes on to add, "TLC and DLC blood tests are tests done at a primary level for a patient, because they give you a basic idea about the kind of disease you are suffering from. It also gives you an idea if there is anything more serious. I would say that TLC and DLC are good tests to get done if you are suffering from any kind of problem." 

So, how often should one get a TLC and DLC test done? "Anyone who comes to me with a problem, TLC and DLC are the basic tests that I suggest them to get done. In the report, if TLC is high, it means that there is some kind of infection. If the TLC is lower than normal, it could be a typhoid, dengue, viral fever, etc. The same goes with DLC. So these tests tell you everything about the kind of illness you are looking at," says Dr. Gita while further mentioning that by correlating the symptoms with the test results, one can diagnose the particular disease  that a patient is suffering from. 

(Dr. Gita Prakash is a family physician at Max Multi Speciality Hospital, Panchsheel Park)

Also read an expert reply: Are glucometer readings accurate for monitoring blood glucose?


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