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Low cholesterol levels, slight leukopenia. Hernia, scoliosis and ablation for Wolf Parkinson syndrome in childhood. Advice?

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Practicing since : 2002
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I'm a 23 year old female. Height 4'9", weight 96lbs. I was born 2 1/2 months premature and 2lbs 7oz. I had double hernia surgery when I was 6, scoliosis posterior spinal fusion T1-T10 when I was 14, 2 unsuccessful EPS and ablation for Wolf Parkinson White Syndrome and hardware removal and debridement for spinal osteomyelitis with 7 weeks of antibiotics via PICC at 18 . I had blood work done at a physical back in August 2011 and my blood work came back with slight leukopenia and extremely low total cholesterol and LDL cholesterol. My total was 98, my LDL was 23 and my HDL was 60. I eat an extremely healthy well-balanced diet, but logic tells me these numbers are abnormal because cholesterol is vital to all cell membranes and other physiologic functions but my pcp says "There's no such thing as too low of cholesterol." I do have digestive problems like frequent bloating and diarrhea. I'm wondering what I should do and if my concern about my cholesterol is valid. Thank you.
Posted Wed, 11 Apr 2012 in General Health
Answered by Dr. Robert Galamaga 13 hours later
Hello and thank you for submitting your question.

Your question is a very good one and I will work on providing you with some good information and recommendations regarding what is going on.

From the question you submitted it seems that the main concern is cholesterol issues. It is also important to note that your white blood cell count was slightly low at the last time you had a check in August.

I am going to address the white blood cell count first. It is not uncommon for some people to have a white blood cell count which is slightly below the average or below normal. This is something which needs to be monitored over a period of time so that your doctor can establish if there is any type of pattern to your white blood cell count. In addition, when a complete blood count is performed a technologist or a computer will look at your white blood cells under a microscope to see if there is any abnormality in the way the cells look. I am certain that your white blood cells appeared normal otherwise he would've been notified of additional follow up meets. Again regarding your white blood cell count, I think this is something which needs to be followed over time and I would suggest that you have a follow up CBC performed within the next two or three months.

The next issue is the cholesterol. I really suspect that the reason why your LDL cholesterol is so amazingly low is due to the fact that you must have a very low amount of dietary cholesterol intake. While many people believe that there is no such thing as a cholesterol level which is too low. We really do not have good data studying patients who have very low cholesterol levels to see if there is any significant detriment.

It is my thinking and in my experience that patients who have cholesterol levels such as yours require a dietary consultation by a nutritionist to evaluate for the level of talents of the diet. I suspect that you may need to increase the amount of cholesterol which you do consume on a regular basis. You are absolutely correct in stating that cholesterol forms a vital part of cell membranes in our body. Again we really have no good studies which tell us what level of LDL cholesterol represents a danger or a detriment to an individual such as yourself.

In your case, I think it would be very beneficial to record a dietary summary to discover what you actually consume on a daily basis for one week. If you share this with a nutritionist or dietitian they can evaluate for any changes or recommendations which might be performed in order to enhance your diet. Again I suspect that you may need to increase your cholesterol intake in such products such as eggs among other things.

I thank you again for submitting your question. I hope you found my response to be hopeful and informative. If you have any additional concerns I would be happy to address them.


Dr. Robert
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