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Lab Tests/White Blood Cell Count


QUESTION: So, my blood work came back with an elevated white cell count of 15.1 (I guess 3.8-10.8) is the desired range.  This is the 2nd blood test I had that showed elevated levels.  The first time I had blood drawn I was sick with bronchitis, So I know that affected my results. It was a month after that I had my blood drawn again to check. My doctor has referred me to an Oncologist and to be blunt I am very nervous.  I know I should be grateful she is being proactive but When I think Oncologist I think Cancer. Should I be nervous??  My appointment isn't until the beginning of April so I am hoping if they aren't rushing to get me in I should be okay?  What else could elevate my White Blood Cell Count?  Thank you for your time.

ANSWER: The doctor is doing their due diligence certainly, which is why a follow up test was run. Two elevated test results do warrant a referral to be checked out for other things, and perhaps this is a doctor they know who gets down to business. Usually the referral is correlating your symptoms with your labs, otherwise it is the standard protocol that the doctor has to follow to keep his job or license. Just because you've been sent to an oncologist does not mean you have cancer, but it means someone more skilled at looking into this blood work is needed.  I don't think you should be nervous, and I try to instill in my own patients that stress and worry will not only make anything you may have going on worse, but it will also rob you of the joys of today. Worry and nerves

As a side note I don't recommend you googled every single cause, because you will more than likely start to worry more. My note to anyone is this: the more the doctor finds out about what is going on, the more that can be done about it. When I have patient's with positive results for something, I try to show them that we know why XYZ is happening in their health, and we know what to do about it. The unknown is far worse, so don't worry too much :)  

That being said, there are a number of reasons why someone's white count could be elevated, including the following:
- Infections
-Inflammation, including inflammatory bowl disease and rheumatoid arthritis
-Conditions that involve tissue death including heart attack, trauma and burns
-leukemia and neoplasms
-allergic responses
-intense physical exercise
-extreme physical or emotional stress (stress causes the same physiological response regardless of cause)

I hope this was helpful, and if there were any other tests that were run along with this that might help me narrow down why they've referred you to oncology I'd be happy to go through a full review of those as well. If I can do anything else for you, please let me know.

In health and happiness,

Dr. Kalli Prater

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QUESTION: All my other blood work came out well. Cholesterol, sugar levels, liver function and kidney function all within range. I did start taking high blood pressure medicine 2  months ago. Lisinopril 10mg with 12.5mg hctz 1 pill/day. I started taking this day after I had my blood drawn the first time. Hoping my high white cell count isn't anything too serious.  I agree about not googling for information too many things it could be.  I am hoping my doctor is just being cautious??  Thank you for your time.

ANSWER: If other things came back normal, then I agree that they are being cautious and I appreciate caution more than I do doctors disregarding results. Better safe than sorry in all regards. Wishing you the very best,

Dr. Kalli Prater

---------- FOLLOW-UP ----------

QUESTION: Odd follow up question for you, about an hour after I eat I sometimes get a pain on the right side of my body just under my rib cage.  I notice it sometimes depends on what I eat, ie spicy, higher fat foods or food cooked in canola oil.  I do limit these foods, but sometimes give into temptation. Thank you again for your time.
Sheila Pasch

Shelia- Right sided pain following fatty meals is highly indicative of gall bladder issues. Your gall bladder releases bile so that your body can break down fats easier. Sometimes it can be sluggish and just have a harder time pumping out enough bile to meet the meals demands, or some people are prone to forming gall stones and they block the duct so that no bile get's released into the system. I would stay away from fatty fried foods for a while to give your body a break and give it a chance to heal. If you have a health food store I would look into getting some good Digestive Enzymes to help aide your body in breaking down foods.

It isn't enough to avoid fatty foods because there are a lot of fat soluble nutrients we need to function. If you can't break down fat you can't absorb those nutrients properly and other issues follow. I will also tell you that I have read many articles and have experienced TOO many people who's only sign of food allergies/sensitivities is gall bladder pain. If all other things go well I would look into ALCAT testing to see what foods your body is having an issue with and get as many out of the diet as possible. Too many patients have come in after having their gall bladder removed to report that their pain/discomfort has not gone away after the removal of the organ, and then they are never put on enzymes to help break down foods and I see a lot of nutritional deficiencies because of this causing other issues down the road.

Wishing you the best,

Dr. Kalli  

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Dr.Kalli Prater


I can answer questions about routine lab work, functional lab ranges for optimal health, what lab tests should be considered and when you need to seek a second opinion. I can also answer questions about specialty testing like: stool testing, hormone testing, and saliva testing.


I run lab tests in my office as a functional medicine practitioner and use functional lab ranges looking for patient's optimal health not their disease. I review many charts and labs and look at trends through the years as well as current symptoms. Usually I find more things on labs that the traditional doctor that correlate to the patient's concerns/issues.

American Chiropractic Association

Doctor of Chiropractic Medicine, B.S. in sports Medicine.

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