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Child feeling fatigued and losing weight. Test showed abnormal low neutrophil count. Worrisome

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General & Family Physician
Practicing since : 2005
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My daughter is 15, has been severely fatigued and has lost 40-50 lbs over 5 months went to get Labs and result was Abnormally low Neutrophil Count. She also says she has leg pains. What does it all mean?
Posted Tue, 4 Sep 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Shanthi.E 4 hours later

Thanks for posting your query.

It seems like there is a deficiency in the immune system of your daughter.

Losing 40-50lbs over 5 months is not a good sign. Abnormally low levels of Neutrophils suggest there is a compromise in her immune system. The most probable cause for this is an ongoing chronic infection. There may be some kind of a pathological process of infection or inflammation, which is occurring in her body somewhere.

We need to find out where, what kind of infection it is, and it has to be managed accordingly.

I would like to know a few things to suggest better. Please do not mind answering these.

1.     Has she been sick for a long time now?
2.     How are her general activities?
3.     Does she plays or is fatigued all the time?
4.     IS there a history of malaria, typhoid or tuberculosis in her?
5.     Is there a history of recent travel?
6.     How low is the Neutrophil count? Please tell me the actual value with units of measurement.

Is it possible for you to upload the lab reports of her? You have a feature to upload the reports / image by yourself at the right side of the query page, please utilize that so that I can answer your queries better.

There is something wrong that is happening in your daughter. We need to act fast and get her treated.

Awaiting your response.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Child feeling fatigued and losing weight. Test showed abnormal low neutrophil count. Worrisome 24 hours later
Thank you Dr Shanthi.E for your reply,

To answer your questions:
1. She hasn't felt quite like herself for about 6 months now she says.
2. She is very fatigued and through the summer with the heat she hasn't done much at all.
3. Yes, she is fatigued most all of the time. Sleeping a lot. Way more than usual.
4. No history of malaria, typhoid or TB in or around our family.
5.We have recently moved from the coastal bend of XXXXXXX to the Hill Country still in XXXXXXX however she became ill while we were still down there we've only been here for 3 months.
6. Her Ne# count is 1.9 Low (Normal Range)with this Lab is 3.3-6.3
I am not to good with computers and am not sure how to scan in report and upload.
I am very concerned about her, she is so pale looking in the face. I had gone to fax this lab report to her Dr. here but they don't seem to be in a hurry to help her.
This is some of the other postings on her Labs:

WBC 4.7 NORMAL RANGE 4.5-13.5


HGB 12.7 NORMAL XXXXXXX 12.0-16.0

HCT 38.4 NORMAL XXXXXXX 36.0-46.0
Thank you for your concern and reply.
Answered by Dr. Shanthi.E 2 hours later

Thanks for writing back in detail and also about her reports.

Going through her history and the reports, it seems like her blood count is on the lower side of normal range.

As a whole her WBC count is less at 4.7, particularly the neutrophils at 1.9. This means her immunity is not strong enough and that it would be difficult for her to fight any disease or common ailments like cold. Her RBC and HGB are also on the lower side of the normal.

Ruling out all chronic infections, I feel that she is generally not eating the right food to boost her immunity. You need to take steps to correct her nutrition now.

You need to give her foods that are XXXXXXX in Vitamin C and E, which will help boost her immunity.

Give her papaya, strawberries, kiwi and oranges. Also include tomatoes, spinach, avocados, olive oil and salmon. Zinc is known to directly increase the body's production of white blood cells. Foods XXXXXXX in zinc include seafood such as crab and oysters, meats such as dark XXXXXXX meat and beef, and legumes such as beans. Please give your daughter more of these.

For the next few months, you may give her a daily dose of multivitamin like Zest which contains zinc in it. It is available over the counter in the US.

She can continue to do moderate physical activity daily as it boosts the immune system too.

Make sure she avoids contact with sick individuals, washes her hands with an antibacterial soap regularly.

Please make these changes in her diet and she should do well soon.

Please repeat the blood test after 6 months and look for improvement in her counts.

Children of her age are known to have bad food habits; they do not eat on time and do not eat good food. Encourage her to eat on time and never to skip a meal.

At this point, I do not think there is any major health concern with her apart from the dietary deficiency.

I hope this helps your daughter and she will be back to normal soon.

Please do write back in case you have more queries to ask.


Above answer was peer-reviewed by
Follow-up: Child feeling fatigued and losing weight. Test showed abnormal low neutrophil count. Worrisome 9 hours later
Thank you very much for your help and concern. I will get these foods for her.
Answered by Dr. Shanthi.E 12 hours later

Thanks for writing back.

I would like to know the progress of your daughter after 6 months.

Please write back to me at this link.

If you have no more queries for now, please accept my answer and write a review.

Take care.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by
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