White blood cell count and psoriasis

November 24, 2010

Question: Is my high white blood cell count related to having psoriasis?

Answer: There is no evidence that a high white blood cell count can cause psoriasis. However, in patients who have a pustular form of psoriasis (characterized by pus-filled bumps in the plaques and often associated with intense scaling), a white blood cell count may parallel activity of the disease. This elevated white blood cell count usually returns to normal when the psoriasis is effectively treated. However, an increased white blood cell count may indicate an underlying infection and should be evaluated by your physician.

Elizabeth A. Abel, M.D.

Elizabeth A. Abel, M.D., is a Fellow of the American Academy of Dermatology. She is currently practicing in Mountain View California at the California Skin Institute and evaluates patients with all forms of psoriasis. Dr. Abel has served as an Advisory Board Member of the National Psoriasis Foundation, as Assistant Editor of the Journal of the American Academy of Dermatology and is the 2010-2011 President of the Pacific Dermatologic Association.

Dr. Abel is a member of the Adjunct Clinical Faculty at Stanford University School of Medicine. She received her medical training at New York University and at the University of Maryland. She has over 80 publications in the peer-reviewed medical literature, and is the author of 22 book chapters and Editor of “Photochemotherapy in Dermatology”.


  • thank u so much about this article…i ve psoriasis and im so concerned about increas of my w.b.c…i think i ve cancer…so thank u about ur article…

  • Hi Mojtab,
    Elevated white blood cell counts and even slightly swollen lymph glands are common occurrences during a flare of psoriasis. Psoriasis is known to be triggered or made active by a miscommunication between the immune system and the skin cells. This same faulty messaging is also believed to be responsible for the production of additional white blood cells during a flare of psoriasis symptoms. White blood cells are the body’s defense against infection and are also mobilized when there is trauma to the skin to fight off infection.

    I encourage you to talk with your health care provider if you have any concerns about your symptoms. You can also email education@psoriasis.org with questions about symptoms and treatments for psoriasis and psoriatic arthritis.

  • Elevated white count 10K – 14K
    More common with ctcl than psoriasis
    also often misdiagnosed as psoriasis
    You need a skin biopsy

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