How to treat high monocytes?
Contrary to popular belief, doctors don’t treat findings; for example, jaundice is a potentially harmless condition in adults, while the condition that caused jaundice can be life-threatening. Therefore, monocytes are not treated as a separate entity, but as a part of a disease and the main therapy is directed towards the control/eradication of the original condition that caused the monocytes to increase in the first place.
The new trend of using natural remedies to treat separate findings is not only misleading but harmful. An increased monocyte count can’t be treated by diet modifications nor by exercise. Such lifestyle changes are directed towards keeping a healthy body to prevent the conditions that caused their elevation from occurring, but once they are elevated, doctors must search and treat the cause. Therefore, if the cause is tuberculosis for example, an anti-tuberculous antibiotic regimen will suffice to control both the disease and the reaction of monocytes produced.
Leukemias are treated by various regimens depending on the cells affected and whether they are acute and chronic, but for chronic myelocytic leukemias -in which the number of monocytes is very high-, treatment has two goals:
- The first is to control the abnormally high levels of leucocytes which can produce life-threatening conditions called leukostasis. This is achieved by using drugs like Busulfan.
- The second goal is to treat the genetic defect that produced cancer in the first place, and this is done by a group of revolutionary drugs called tyrosine kinase inhibitors, the most commonly used of which are Imatinib and Nilotinib.
The diagnosis of leukemia especially chronic leukemias can never be achieved based on CBC findings alone. Your doctor will order a battery of investigations if he suspects leukemia most commonly bone marrow biopsy and Philadelphia chromosome -which is the main genetic aberration of chronic myeloid leukemia-, which is why self-diagnosis based on CBC alone is entirely wrong. If you did a CBC without a doctor’s consult and found abnormal findings, consult your family physician and save yourself a mostly misplaced worry.