ZocdocAnswersWhat causes white blood cells to form?

Question

What causes white blood cells to form?

I'm in late-stage HIV, and my white blood cell count is low. I want to do everything I can to get it back up, if possible. What should I know? What lifestyle changes can I make? What diet should I consume? What medications are available?

Answer

Low white blood cell counts is a serious medical problem, which can lead to a number of infections. The doctors who are best qualified to discuss this issue with you include your primary care doctor, your infectious disease specialist, or your HIV doctor. White blood cells are the most important part of the body's immune system, the system that prevents and fights off infections such as viruses, bacteria, and fungi. When your white blood cells are low, you are prone to have infections. HIV lowers your white blood cell count by infecting and killing off the cells. When you have HIV, the most important thing to do is to have regular appointments with your HIV doctor and to take your HIV medications as directed. The HIV medications suppress the growth of the HIV virus and allow the white blood cell counts to rise towards normal. Of course, eating a healthy diet and maintaining a healthy lifestyle does have some positive effects on your white blood cell count, but these lifestyle factors are never sufficient or a substitute for taking your HIV medications. As always, the diagnosis and management of your specific condition will require a physical examination by your personal physician. Scheduling an office visit with your primary care doctor or the doctor who manages your HIV is strongly recommended.

This answer is for general informational purposes only and is not a substitute for professional medical advice.

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