Low white cell count

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i am a 47 year old female. I haven’t been feeling “me” for roughly a year. Thankfully I am still able to work but struggle daily with energy, pain etc. Since January I have had to get bloods done every month as my white cell count is low. Was back at the doctors today, who said that they will monitor it and if it doesn’t rise then I will be sent to a haematologist. The doctor also did antibodies test last time which came back ok. Getting a bit frustrated of being tired, in pain etc.

aabb

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    Hello. 39 y/o female with low WBC, as well. I happen to be a RN and noticed my low WBC after 3 separate doctors ignored or didn’t bother calling me with results (over the course of a year). I, too, felt tired and had chronic pain, which is why I went to a rheumatologist, which is how I coincidentally noticed my blood work. I’ve struggled with cold sores and constantly felt on the verge of getting sick for a few years. Doctors acted like I was crazy.

    First off, what are your ranges on your WBC, neutrophils, Hemoglobin, hematocrit, ferritin, folate, and B12 (you may not have all of those, but you should if you have a good doctor)? And what time frame have you been going through during your checks? Have you had a blood smear? This could generally rule out the scary blood stuff.

    My WBC ranges between 2.1-3.0 and my neutrophils 0.3-1.1, having trended downward over the past 6 months, which is why I’m getting ready to see a new hematologist, since my current one won’t treat me at such low levels, even though he knows I work in a hospital and am constantly exposed to germs. I should mention that mild to moderate neutropenia (neutrophil count between 1000-1500 and 500-999, respectively) aren’t anything to get terribly upset about unless you are frequently exposed to germy situations or people and you actively get sick from it. The real concern is <500 and symptomatic (getting sick). Neutropenia is what you’re technically being diagnosed with at this time. If your levels are mild and you don’t have any other symptoms or test results that would indicate a need to do a bone marrow biopsy to check for the scary stuff then you’ll be ok. You’ll live. As for your energy and pain, those symptoms can be addressed by your PCP and a positive attitude (I know how much it sucks to have someone say that when you’re worried about your health and quality of life). I had the bone marrow biopsy done just for peace of mind. Pre-medicating with some norco and Ativan and mentally preparing for pain made it a surprisingly less painful procedure. My doctor thinks my neutropenia is autoimmune neutropenia, related to my Hashimoto’s thyroid. 

    I would request to be sent to a hematologist. A doctor who doesn’t send you when your have blood work that shows consistently abnormal labs and symptomology is a useless doctor. Good luck.

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    • Posted

      Thank you for getting back to me. I was at the nurse again the other day for more bloods again. She said I had neutropenia and it was sitting at 2.8. Still feel exhausted etc. Feel like I will ground to a halt one day. I am  not worried that it’s anything sinister, even although my mum is in remission from lymphoma, I just want to feel better and have more energy. My own GP said she will monitor it and send me to a specialist if it doesn’t improve but I should have asked how long I need to go on  until she refers me to a haematologist. 

      Aabb

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    • Posted

      Always go with a list of questions. I always forget something if I don’t. As for the energy, have you had those other labs I mentioned done? Several of them could affect energy level. 
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    • Posted

      I had every blood test, from liver, thyroid, diabetes, inflammation markers etc. The only other thing that came back that was low was my thyroid but thankfully that was ok last month but not the other twice I had it done. 

      Aabb

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      If all other tests are normal and you have no other symptomology it’s like chronic idiopathic neutropenia, which is most often a benign disorder. In your case, I wouldn’t be terribly concerned about it unless you start getting sick often. The tiredness and pain could be fibromyalgia, which is a diagnosis of exclusion. You might check into that. 
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      I do have fibromyalgia but I have different symptoms to that of my normal. The exhaustion is very difficult to deal with although thankfully I am still able to work, with a fight I may add. 

      Aabb

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    • Posted

      Hi, did you ever find the cause for your neutropenia? I'm 21 years old and have been experiencing fluctuating neutropenia for 6 months. I'm finally being referred to haemotology, just really worried!

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    • Posted

      Hi LS79,

      I was told recently i have Hashimotos (44 yrs old) and then had more bloods that showed low wbc count. Are the two of these combined common? Hope you are feeling better btw.

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    • Posted

      LS1979, you sound like you know what you are talking about! Sorry to jump on your thread aabb but I have looked everywhere for an answer to my question and I think LS1979 may have just answered it. I had a neutrophill count of 0.48 last week. I am 45 and had a baby 16 months ago. I have felt fine until the start of August where apparently I had glandular fever. i have had 3 covid tests and all negative. I feel low in energy as to be expected with my son and breastfeeding. he has been sick all summer as well. We both have horrendous coughs atm. I got a major mouth infection 3 weeks ago... Ulcers the size of 10p pieces on my tongue, couldn't speak, eat or drink, which prompted me to get my bloods done and this is what they found.

      I am so worried that this is more serious, I am getting my bloods done again today. I am a secondary school teacher and am contact with so many children. I am not sure if I should be in work and can't find any info on that on the internet. can you work i a school with neutrophenia? I can't get a rest my son has been off sick with me for the last two weeks also.I don't know how I can work but I am getting so stressed out as I need to be back before it gets completely crazy busy. can you give me any advice?

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    • Posted

      My hematologist believes that it’s autoimmune so it's diagnosed as autoimmune neutropenia. I already had Hashimoto's since 2002 and Raynaud's for about 6 years or so. My WBC stays around 1.8 and my ANC around 0.3 on most checks now. It occasionally fluctuates but not much. It fluctuated for a couple of years before it settled. I was worried at first, being a hospital nurse, but I’m just more careful now. I haven’t caught covid and I'm vaccinated plus the booster that was offered at work. I get little infections from myself all the time: cold sores, mastoiditis, sinus infections, but since covid hit and I wear a mask everywhere and limit the places I go and I haven’t gotten sick from someone else since the pandemic started.

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    • Posted

      They’re not combined but once you have 1 autoimmune condition it's easy to develop more. A white blood cell count can fluctuate without it meaning you’ve developed a new condition, it depends in how low it goes and stays. A nurse I work with went kind of low and then back to normal on the next check.

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      I work in a hospital! During covid! I’m just really careful and I don’t take covid patients. I wear a mask, keep distances, avoid touching my face, and use sanitizer. Yes, kids are gross and there is a risk being at school, just be smart. I actually went to Universal Studios (I live in Florida, amongst the biggest idiots in the U.S.) last month. We had bought annual passes again because covid had died down in the early summer and we got cabin fever. We just used the app to go to the shortest lines, avoided big crowds, wore masks, and sanitized constantly. We survived (we’re also vaccinated). The good thing about neutropenia is that neutrophils aren’t the fighters against viruses. That’s lymphocytes and mine are fine. Most bacterial illnesses are under control right now with masking.

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    Hiya. Did you ever find out what the cause of your neutropenia was and how did they find out? I've had ongoing neutropenia since August, fluctuating between 1.2-0.8. I'm now being referred to haemotology and I am so worried it's something nasty, I'm only 21 years old and it doesn't seem like there's many benign causes. X

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    • Posted

      My doctor says I have chronic neutropenia and he believes it’s autoimmune but there’s no way to tell for sure. My white cell count sits at 1.9 all the time and I do get normal infections but nothing crazy. Ironically, I’ve not gotten sick from another person since Covid/masking started. But I can get bacterial infections from my own stupid body.

      Were the numbers you quoted your white cell count our neutrophil count? If your values fluctuate it could be cyclic neutropenia, which is largely benign, like my autoimmune neutropenia. My advice: don’t be afraid until your doctor tells you to. I got myself worked up and it took almost a year to diagnose me, fully. I was in a constant state of stress for no reason.

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    • Posted

      How old were you when you got diagnosed? Is it your complete wbc which is 1.9? - What do your neutrophils tend to sit at? My complete white blood count is most recently 2.5, my neutrophils are 0.8. It just seems unusual as a blood test from 2015 said my neutrophils were 3.9 so they used to be pretty stable. I'm glad to hear your diagnosis is benign and nothing sinister, and it's great to hear you've managed to stay free of covid too! That advice is helpful, I definitely need to adopt that mindset as I've been worried about this for the past 6 months - the anxiety takes over your life! I did come across cyclic neutropenia online, it's just a shame there doesn't seem to be much information about it all and it always seems to link back to blood cancers. X

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