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Dr. Andrew Rynne

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Have fluid retention and pain in legs. Have low WBC and anemia. Am I having a infection?

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Dr. Shoaib Khan

General & Family Physician

Practicing since :2009

Answered : 9409 Questions

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Posted on Mon, 1 Apr 2013 in Blood Disorders
Question: Hi, I have just had blood tests done and found I had a lw white blood cell count. My symptoms have been aching legs and feet, feeling a little like I have fluid retention. I exercise 5 days out of 7 doing weights and aerobic exercise and have never been a sweater until now. I get really hot quickly when I exercise now and get very sweaty. I feel very tired and have to push myself to get motivated. My stress levels aren't great either and I'm not sleeping that well. I've just turned 50. Apparently I had low white blood cells 2 years ago when I went to casualty because I had chest pains and finding it hard to breath. They did tests and it came back that i was anaemic. They put me on iron tablets twice a day. I'm not sure if this could be the problem again. My doctor said I was possibly fighting an infection.
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Answered by Dr. Shoaib Khan 26 minutes later
Hello and welcome to XXXXXXX

Thank you for your query.

The causes for a low white blood cell (WBC) count are numerous. Fighting recent infections like a cold or flu are also causes to a low WBC, but you have a history of a low WBC as well, this almost rules out any recent infections to be the cause.

Let me list a few causes for you, so you can get yourself thoroughly investigated:
-Anemia (aplastic)
-Vitamin deficiencies like folate or iron deficiency can also cause this (checked by blood investigations; you have a history for this)
-Spleen enlargement due to various causes (seen by an abdominal ultrasound)
-Systemic diseases (eg. systemic lupus erythematosus; blood test for all systemic diseases is called 'ANA')
-Mosquito or tick-borne diseases like typhoid, malaria, dengue, rickettsial infections (check ESR and platelet count to rule these out)
-Tuberculosis (mantoux test)
-HIV (ELISA or PCR blood test)

Please go through elaborate investigations if this low WBC lasts for longer. Taking into consideration your history, there could be a likelihood that it would. Please go to the root of this, as there could be some underlying condition causing this. If your WBC returns to normal the next time you check it (within 2 weeks), then you need not worry.

I hope this information helps. Do write back to me for any further clarifications or information. I would be glad to help.

Best wishes.
Above answer was peer-reviewed by : Dr. Chakravarthy Mazumdar
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