Nervous about white blood count

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Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 75
   Posted 10/2/2008 2:14 AM (GMT -6)   
Well I got the results of my ANA and other tests. My ANA is negative and my white blood count is low considerably from my last CBC which was a month ago. The nurse made it sound incredibly urgent that i come back in immediately and get another CBC done. Unfortunately I wont be able to go back in until friday and she didn't seem very happy about that. It was like I was suppose to drop everything go running down to my doctor's office and pay yet another co-pay just to get my blood re drawn and have to wait another 2-4 days for results. So of course my overactive imagination is getting the best of me so I start doing research on the web and find several different and scary things that accompany low white blood counts. I initially thought that it was just my "lupus" acting up again but since my ANA is negative and there is no way that I have lupus because of this fact alone (per my doctor) it must be something much more terrifying!!!! So here I go freaking myself out until friday. So I guess has anyone else had a low white blood count along with painful joints and exhaustion? 

Veteran Member

Date Joined Feb 2003
Total Posts : 5514
   Posted 10/2/2008 11:08 AM (GMT -6)   
Hi Natalie,
Okay, deep breaths!!!  You'll be okay.
First off, your doctor shouldn't have told you that you can't have lupus with a negative ANA. You definitely CAN have lupus.  Is this your rheumatologist who told you that, or your primary doctor? 
It is urgent to find out the cause of why you have a low WBC count.  I have chronic low WBC counts. It's called Leukopenia.  Very common in lupus.  I don't have enough WBC to fight infections properly. Mine fluctuates between normal and low all the time.  I just have to be extra careful around people who are sick, I wash my hands a lot and stay away from situations that might make me sick. 
If you can get to the lab on Friday, one extra day isn't going to change anything. Let us know what comes of the test okay?
I can do anything through Jesus Christ who strengthens me. I have learned in whatever state I am in,to be content. Phillipians 4:11-13

34 years old. Diagnosed with lupus in 2000. Fibromyalgia, anti-phospholipid syndrome(APS)(stroke),Sjogren's, Raynaud's, seizure disorder-(miraclulously disappeared!), Libman Sach's Endocarditis, vasculitis, sacroiliitis, arthritis (neck) . Prednisone, Imuran, Coumadin, Clobazam, Amitriptyline, didrocal, Cozaar, Tramacet, calcium, Cykolokapron, multi-vitamin, vitamin D, Magnesium, vitamin B6, Acidophilus

Veteran Member

Date Joined Jun 2008
Total Posts : 675
   Posted 10/2/2008 12:12 PM (GMT -6)   
Hi Natalie,
Have you been having flare symptoms lately, and thus the testing for ANA etc? My WBC seems to take a big dip down when I have a flare with fever, joint pain, headache, and generally the works as far as symptoms go - minus the rash. At the same time, my liver enzymes become elevated along with CRP. They monitor me every couple weeks and in about a month - things return to normal.

We are still trying to figure out if this is an autoimmune flare or what.....and the thing I am wondering about, is if a milder flare, without the higher temp, causes similar fluctuations, but we just don't know it because I don't go to the doctor and the blood tests aren't done.

Ginny is right - ANA is not a diagnostic absolute with Lupus. Leukopenia (low WBC) is one of the 11 criteria for Lupus - as long as it occurs on at least 2 occasions. I hope you will get some help figuring this out w/ a rheumatologist. Try not to dwell on all the scary "what if's" - these things do fluctuate.
Good luck and let us know how it goes.
diagnoses:  mono 1972; postviral CFS 1997; fibro 1998; CEBV 2005; UCTD (dx limbo) 2007
meds:  occasional low dose xanax for sleep, artificial tears w/ ointment at night, ibuprophin (none of which manages the problems very well!)
We cannot avoid the birds of sadness flying over our heads, but we need not let them make nests in our hair. 
       ~~ Chinese saying as quoted by Helen Nearing

Regular Member

Date Joined Sep 2008
Total Posts : 32
   Posted 10/2/2008 4:07 PM (GMT -6)   
ooohhhhh, i know having to wait on bloodwork is awful!!!! i am waiting for the results of my bloodtests from my dr tomorrow. worst case scenarios and what if's are plaguing me. i don't have any advice on what low white cells mean....mine are always elevated....for years i have heard....well you are fighting something off...and even allergies/asthma cause raised wbcells.....anyhow i hope everything gets cleared up!!!
keep us posted

Veteran Member

Date Joined Apr 2006
Total Posts : 1344
   Posted 10/2/2008 5:02 PM (GMT -6)   
You need to find a good rheumy who is experienced with lupus and other AI diseases.  Ginny gave you good advice.  Many of us have experienced problems when the labs are normal.  This is the deceptive nature of lupus and AI diseases in general and if your doctor does not treat them he will not know either.
One of my meds, imuran, was causing lower wbc, rbc and platelet counts which stabilized after reducing the dose.  There are lots of possible causes to leukopenia and most are treatable. 
Even if you like you current doctor I would seek a second opinion.
Good luck,
Mixed connective tissue disease (systemic lupus, scleroderma, polymyositis), Raynauds phenomena, Hypertension, Barrett's esophagus.
Meds: prednisone 5mg, 50mg imuran, Lotrel 40/5mg, maxide 37.5/25mg, folic acid, potassium, aciphex 20mg, multi vitamins.
Maintain your optimism and you can beat the odds.
"Although the world is full of suffering, it is also full of the overcoming of it."  Helen Keller

Regular Member

Date Joined Mar 2008
Total Posts : 75
   Posted 10/3/2008 3:42 AM (GMT -6)   
Thanks everyone for your advice!!! They are re-testing my CBC tomorrow. I have my first rheumy appointment on October 13th. I have been feeling a little bit better over the last week. I still feel feverish every now and then but it goes away. I will let you know how everything goes tomorrow!!! Thanks again!!!
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