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What does a high white blood cell count mean if no other problems are shown?

Discuss Lymphoma, Hodgkins Lymphoma, Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma

What does a high white blood cell count mean if no other problems are shown?

Postby garran » Sat Sep 10, 2011 8:05 am

I got results back from a complete blood count that I had done, and absolutely EVERYTHING is normal besides my white blood cell count. The reference range that they used was 3.8-10.8 thousand/uL and my count was at 13.0. My doctor says that this is likely a stress response which can create a "false high" in the white blood cell count and that I will need to test again in a few weeks. There are no signs of infection or metabolic conditions. Everything is normal except this count. I am TERRIFIED as a high white blood cell count can lead to needing leukemia screenings and such, but my family and nurse and everyone else is telling me to relax. I'm sorry, how can I relax when I have to wait so long to retest and don't know why my count is high? Are there ever any reasons why a count would be high that does NOT mean cancer? I only went to the doctor for headaches! I find it hard to believe that something could be so wrong with me, but I am FREAKING OUT and cannot shake this. Is it possible to just have a high white blood cell count and be healthy? I don't understand what these results can mean, and my fear about this is literally putting a huge strain on living my daily life. Please help!
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What does a high white blood cell count mean if no other problems are shown?

Postby riddock » Sat Sep 10, 2011 8:14 am

Your doctor is right. It probably is artificial and that it is due to stress. There a bunch of reasons it can be high, but stress and infection are the most common, so don't expect it to be the worst case scenario!
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What does a high white blood cell count mean if no other problems are shown?

Postby brigg » Sat Sep 10, 2011 8:22 am

Nothing bad, It just means you will die in a few days. But it's all good.
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What does a high white blood cell count mean if no other problems are shown?

Postby fiacra49 » Sat Sep 10, 2011 8:30 am

Many, many things can cause a high white cell blood count! You might have a slight cold? 3 out of every 5 people have TB in a very slight form!
Your doctor told you it is stress! You do not tell me what age you are, and what sex.
If female, and between 13 to 60 yo, then it could also indicate the early onset of a period.
If male, in the same age group, it could be you have had sex with a female within the last twenty days.
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What does a high white blood cell count mean if no other problems are shown?

Postby thorntun40 » Sat Sep 10, 2011 8:39 am

Stress can indeed cause a rise in the white cell count, or it may be that you recently had a viral illness such as a cold.

You are correct that some blood cancers (leukemia) can cause an increase in the WCC, but if this was the case, you would be showing other symptoms too, such as swelling of the lymph nodes in your neck, armpits and groin, as well as an enlarged spleen. This finding is incidental, and most likely represents nothing serious. Your WCC isn't alarmingly high, which is what one would expect to see when the bone marrow is over-producing white cells at a rate related to leukemia.

If your next count is high, they may do more retesting, such as flow cytometry (this can diagnose exactly what white cell is elevated, and if it contains abnormal DNA seen in cancers).

As you can see here, there are many harmless reasons for an elevated WCC:
http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/003643.htm
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