What are they?
Polys (also called neutrophils) are the cells that help fight bacterial
infections and other distress conditions. Polys are the most populous of the
white blood cells - normally comprising 55% to 60% of the total white blood
cell count - and they are also the most short-lived. After they are made
in the bone marrow, they circulate for only about eight hours through the
blood stream before they get to work in the tissues. If all goes well, they
will live in the tissues for about a week.
Why measure them?
When your body is in a stressful state, perhaps from infection, trauma or
toxic stimuli, extra polys will be produced. With infections, they typically
increase their normal ranks from a little over half of the total white blood
cell count to 80% or more. Obesity and cigarette smoking are also associated
with an increased poly count.