High Monocytes: What are Monocytes? What is your function? Symptoms, Causes and Treatment of Elevated Levels

Monocytosis means a high presence of these white blood cells in the bloodstream. This occurrence is usually in response to an infection that fights the immune system.

What are monocytes?

White blood cells that are also known as leukocytes, are cells that are responsible for defending your body against any viral infection or any harmful substance that can destroy your bodily functions.

A critical component of white blood cells is called monocytes. Monocytes are produced by the bone marrow and are considered the most prominent white blood cells.

These cells travel through the tissues of the organs with blood as a passageway. Its main objective is to eliminate and destroy harmful debris and microorganisms to defend your body.

Monocytes have a unique, large, smooth, identifiable, bean-shaped nuclease at their center. Monocytes can change their shape according to the need for immune activation.

Monocyte functions

The main functions of monocytes are to help other white blood cells, remove debris from non-essential tissues or dead tissues, destroy malignant cells, and control our immune system against invaded foreign cells.

Monocytes are made in the bone marrow and then pass into the circulatory system. The monocytes then travel to different organs, including the spleen, lungs, liver, and bone marrow, where they mature and change their shape to macrophages.


Monocytes play a versatile role in the immune system. They become macrophages when any virus, bacteria, parasite, or foreign particle invades our body.

Macrophages engulf them and act as scavenger cells. They also break down all the tissue debris and can destroy infected cells by particular types of enzymes produced in macrophages.

Once the foreign particles enter the body, the macrophages prepare the antigen, which indicates that these are the substances that are harmful to the body. After identifying the antigen, our immune system prepares antibodies against them.

In the future, the identified invaders or the antigen become coated with antibodies and are easily recognizable by macrophages and destroyed by phagocytosis. Phagocytosis is a natural enveloping process that uses the enzyme through macrophages.

The antibody is a protein substance that has antigen-specific action. When an infection occurs, inflammation is a common symptom due to complement.

High monocyte counts are not always a cause for concern but could indicate a significant health problem if multiple tests show similar results over time.

What is considered “high” monocytes can vary between laboratories and organizations? Still, it is generally diagnosed if more than eight to nine percent of your white blood cells are monocytes in a series of tests.

Symptoms of high monocytes

Symptoms often overlap with that characteristic of malignant or rheumatologic diseases but must also include:

  • Arthralgia.
  • Swelling or stiffness of the joints.
  • Oral or genital ulcers.
  • Visual symptoms
  • Easy bruising or bleeding.
  • Myalgias.
  • Abnormal skin manifestations.
  • Night sweats.
  • Esophageal reflux or dysphagia.
  • Dry eyes or mouth.
  • Photosensitivity.
  • Raynaud’s phenomenon, others.

Causes of high monocyte count

Clinically high monocyte count is called monocytosis. Monocytosis worsens with a higher level of stress.

Another abnormality in the physiological condition includes:

  • Inflammation.
  • Viral infection (measles and mumps).
  • Severe bacterial infection (pneumonia).
  • Parasitic infection.
  • Increased cell lethality.
  • Malfunction in the immune system.
  • The resurrection of red blood cells (red blood cells).

A high test can mean that your body is fighting an acute illness or infection, but repeated tests with high levels can indicate:

  • Chronic inflammatory disease, such as IBD.
  • Parasitic or viral infection.
  • Bacterial infection (potentially in the heart).
  • Lupus.
  • Vasculitis.
  • Rheumatoid arthritis.
  • Certain types of leukemia.

Diseases that cause a high monocyte count are:

  • Sarcoids:  formation of unusual, small, circular bumps on the surface of affected tissues.
  • Chronic granulomatous disease: a  genetic disorder in which the immune system cells cannot destroy specific types of bacteria, fungi, etc.
  • Cushing syndrome:  excessive secretion of steroid hormone such as cortisol from the adrenal gland.
  • Langerhans cell histiocytosis: This is a disease in which cells called histiocytes multiply in the Langerhans cells of the pancreas, often causing injury.

Treatment of high monocytes

To treat monocytosis, it is essential to diagnose the underlying cause. It is always advisable to consult your doctor, the right person, to identify the abnormal condition and help resolve the abnormality.

Lifestyle changes, such as regular exercise, weight control, and adequate sleep, help control the monocyte count.

Adequate food intake and the consumption of dietary supplements can help to increase the treatment process and regulate the level of high monocytes.


Foods that contain an excellent antioxidant property can help boost immunity and reduce the incidence of infections. The list of foods and spices that have antioxidant properties and can reduce inflammation are:

  • Spinach.
  • Onion.
  • She.
  • Turmeric.
  • Black cumin.
  • Grapes.
  • Cranes.
  • Broccoli.
  • Beans.

Dietary supplements

Omega-3 fatty acid supplements, including fish liver oil supplements and curcumin supplements, help reduce inflammation.