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"What causes a high white blood cell count?"
I've recently had a blood test that shows a white blood cell count that is 30% above normal range, but my doctor is trying to brush it off. I also have been experiencing fatigue and gastrointestinal discomfort as well as always having mild nasal congestion and postnasal drip. I am a female in my late 20s. Can allergies cause a high white blood cell count (I know that infections do)? What should I ask to be tested for or what kind of specialist should I try to get a referral for?
White blood cell (WBC) counts are amazingly variable between healthy people with a normal range being between 3-4 thousand and 8-9 thousand. WBC counts 30% above the average thus would still be within the normal range. Allergies may increase the number of specific WBCs called the Eosinophiles and Basophiles. However, because these two types of WBCs are such a low percentage of the total, allergies do not increase the total WBC count by any significant amount. This is probably why your doctor has not shown concern. You are correct in that bacterial infections can cause an elevation in the WBC count, though you are not showing any definitive signs of this. Since you are experiencing fatigue, it may not be a bad idea to have a peripheral blood smear done to rule out a low level leukemia or lymphoma. This is where a pathologist looks at your blood under a microscope and manually counts the numbers of each type of cell. Based on what you have described, that would be the only test I would ask you doctor for to make sure that your WBC count is normal. I do not think that you need referral to a specialist unless an abnormality is found on the blood smear. Good luck.
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