Disturbing blood test results

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Disturbing blood test results

Postby Cyborg Ninja » Wed Mar 26, 2008 10:05 am

Just for a necessary background... I have hyperthyroidism, SM, and Crohn's disease, as well as a few not-so-serious stuff like gallstones and scoliosis. I've had a couple of blood tests done within the past few months. Both have shown that I'm anemic. The first one showed severe anemia and the second showed that I was slowly recovering. I've been taking an iron supplement everyday since the first test. The first test showed that my RBC (red blood cell count) was low, which I suppose is from the anemia, and the second showed it was normal but my WBC (white blood cell count) was low. Considering I have Crohn's disease and wasn't taking my medicine for it, that's very unusual. If anything, it should be higher than normal.

The main worry is that I am taking an anti-thyroid drug called methimazole to keep my thyroid in check, but this medicine can cause agranulocytosis and leukopenia, where the red and white blood cells are being destroyed too early within the bone marrow (as far as I know). It's rare, but I seem to win the lottery when it comes to diseases, don't I? I can't tell if these things are just a coincidence or not. How frequently do people have a low WBC? I wasn't sick before the second test, which was when my WBC was low (I was before the first). My doctors didn't even mention the low WBC; just the anemia. I am even worried about why I am so iron-deficient now when I should have been months ago... then again I was probably anemic then, but when I had the first blood test I was eating decently and they said that was so low I should have gotten a transfusion. I still wonder why I was still anemic on the second test because I had been taking iron for a month and eating well. I eat spinach more often than I'd like. Does anyone know where exactly in the small intestine iron is absorbed?

I doubt anybody has any solid answers (my doctor doesn't), but I could use some replies to the couple of questions above.
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Postby BH5196 » Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:02 pm

Hi,

I'm a laboratory technologist and will be happy to try and help you sort out the results.

What were the numbers and what reference range was attached to each result? This is important as different labs can use different methodologies that will have unique reference ranges.

As for the WBC count, I always run "lower end of normal" myself. A virus will lower your WBC count..is it possible you may have been fighting off a bug? I know the flu was rampant recently.

Also, if a drug can cause leukopenia and agranulocytosis that will affect the WBC count and the types of cells that make up the total WBC count, but should not affect the total RBC count. It's kind of a cause and effect thing, the agranulocytosis is a decrease in a certain type of WBC. That decrease in that type causes an overall leukopenia (decrease in total WBC's). You're low on a part...so the total is less. (Does that make sense?)
Beth in NC
CM-22mm herniation, normal CSF flow, no Syrinxes
Cervical-Medullary decompression with dural scoring 10/8/07
Not cured, but heading in the right direction!
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Cool!!!

Postby 3dmamix » Wed Mar 26, 2008 7:49 pm

That is the cool thing about this site! I applaud you for your help! But for those of you who chime in, don't loose site of the original question.
SM C2-T3 and growing, cervical fusion C3-C7 with a titanium plate and a K-tube stent at C-3.
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Postby SMLady » Thu Mar 27, 2008 11:38 am

Wow Beth! Great Info!!! How lucky asap is to have you on the message board!

I can't help anyone as I'm medical illiterate. However, if anyone ever needs any computer programming advice.....
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Idiopathic SM T1 - T9, DDD, Scoliosis, Pinched Nerves, Bulging Discs, Spondylosis, Stenosis
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The Man who walks with God always gets to his destination.
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Postby BH5196 » Thu Mar 27, 2008 7:05 pm

had a chance to do a little more research on the iron absorption part. (It's been a long time since that class....) :wink:

Iron is absorbed in the proximal small intestine (the part closest to the stomach) and also some is absorbed in the duodenum. I also found a reference to inflammation interfering with the absorption of iron so your Crohn's disease is probably working against you there.

Something to remember when you are working to rebuild your iron stores is this. Your body replaces your entire red cell population every 45 days (not all at once, new cells every day with old ones being removed). So in addition to trying to rebuild your iron reserves, some of that iron you are taking is being incorporated into those new red cells. The upside is that you should have healthier red cells in the new population and hopefully the anemia will not be as severe. It takes longer to rebuild the iron reserves and that will depend on the absorption. Since you said your anemia is recovering, you are probably on the right track.

As for why they did not mention your low WBC, they may not have said anything because it was just a "little bit" low. In most cases, a slight decrease (or increase for that matter) often turns out to not be clinically significant. Just a normal variation that can occur.
Beth in NC
CM-22mm herniation, normal CSF flow, no Syrinxes
Cervical-Medullary decompression with dural scoring 10/8/07
Not cured, but heading in the right direction!
BH5196
 
Posts: 42
Joined: Thu Aug 30, 2007 5:17 am
Location: Mooresville, NC


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