Thursday, January 29, 2009
White Blood Cell Differential Count for Parasites
When I first discovered troubles in my digestion patterns, I went to my primary doctor and she drew some blood. The results showed an increased number in white blood cells, so the doctors suggested I test for Crohn’s disease (high white blood cell counts often means there is an inflammation). The end result was again inconclusive, so a new doctor recommended that I get a white blood cell differential count.
The aptly named differential count shows the difference in the levels of each kind of white blood cell. There are nuetrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosiniphils and basophils. Each type has its own function and its own “standard” percentage range in terms of overall white blood cells. Doctors often use this to test for Leukemia, but in my case, my doctor is most concerned with the levels of eosiniphils and basophils. An increase in eosiniphils could mean a parasitic infection (something that a biopsy may not be able to test), and an increase in basophils could mean a hypersensitive reaction to food.
While I’m waiting on these results, she also ordered a stool test to detect parasites (I do not believe it can determine a gluten intolerance). Finally! The other doctors spent so much time invading me without looking at the one substance that could tell them the most. Just when I had enough of doctors prodding me and telling me to drink nasty things, one doctor merely asks me to do what I do. What made this process even more fun (or funny) is that I shipped the sample through FedEx in a “biohazard type b” bag. I am appreciative that it is this easy, but I could not help but to laugh at me being so toxic.
When the results come in, my doctor will then compare the two tests and make an informed decision (gasp!). I am not an expert but I am excited about the possibility of certainty. Updates to come!