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The basophil test measures the number of specific type of white blood cells (WBC) called basophils in the blood. White blood cells (also called leukocytes), are a part of the immune defense system and they help the body to fight infections. Certain conditions can affect the levels of basophils and WBCs, such as allergic reactions and cancers. The basophil test is often done as a part of complete blood count (CBC) to help diagnose blood cell anomalies.
The basophil test is a simple blood test collected via venipuncture. The test is often done as a part of blood differential test that assesses the amount of all five WBC in the blood and the results are given as cells per microliter (mcL) or a percentage of total white blood cell count. Normal basophil count is between 0.5% and 1%.
Higher than normal basophil levels can result from:
- Chronic myelogenous leukemia
- Allergic reaction
- Myeloproliferative disease
- Collagen vascular disease
- Hypothyroidism (underactive thyroid)
Lower than normal basophil levels can result from:
- Acute infection
- Severe injury
Am I required to fast for this test?
No, you do not need to fast for this test. However, if you are concurrently having another test done that requires fasting, you need to fast for that test as indicated.
What are normal levels?
Normal basophil levels range from 0.5% to 1% of total WBC or 0 to 300 cells/mcL blood. The normal values can vary depending on the laboratory. The exact range will be indicated on your report.
What are abnormal levels?
Higher than normal basophil levels are called basophilia and can be a sign of myeloproliferative diseases, allergic reaction or occur after splenectomy. Lower than normal basophil levels are called basopenia and can result from cancer, acute infection or injury.
Why do I need it?
If you suspect you suffer from a myeloproliferative disease, leukemia, or another disease that affects your basophil count, you may consider taking this test. The test may also be done to monitor your basophil levels if you suffer from one of these conditions.
What type of doctor should I see if results are abnormal?
See your primary health care provider who may refer you to a specialist, such as a hematologist.