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Done CBC test for viral infection, doctor suggested WBC count re-check later. Should I be worried?

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Practicing since : 2002
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I am a 47 year old female, height 5'3", weight approx. 195 lbs with a history of asthma, insulin resistance, polycystic ovarian syndrome, hypothyroidism, hypoglycemia, allergies, bipolar disorder, IBS, and anxiety. Last week, my doctor, in a routine blood test, ordered a CBC with differential. Everything came back normal except my WBC count was 11.6, my RDW was 16.5, and my platelet count was 421. My doctor said he is not concerned with the results. (I had an upper respiratory viral infection in late August for about two weeks wherein I had a severe sore throat and spots on my tonsils but no fever and no swollen glands.) I do not have a fever now nor swollen glands. My doctor said he'd just check my WBC count again at a later date and told me not to worry. Should I be worried?
Posted Sun, 6 May 2012 in X-ray, Lab tests and Scans
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 2 hours later
Hello and thanks for the query.

Regarding your most recent blood test, I agree with your doctor. We cannot regard a single CBC test as a reflection of anything worrisome - especially in your case where there are only very subtle changes.

The RDW is simply a measure of the average width of your red blood cells and this commonly fluctuates around the normal range in most people. There is absolutely nothing to worry about related to that.

The WBC count is only slightly above normal. In the setting of a relatively recent infection this is certainly not uncommon as well. In the process of fighting infections sometimes the body will release inflammatory molecules which can at the same time cause the platelet count to rise to a mild degree. I think this represents the most likely explanation of what the results of the CBC show. If you were my patient I would check another CBC in 6 to 8 weeks.

Again let me reassure you that there is nothing in your CBC which makes me concerned about any type of disease process.

Thanks again for the query. I hope you found this response to be helpful and informative. If you have any additional concerns I would be happy to address them.


Dr. Galamaga
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