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What does a low white blood cell count mean?

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Just got the results of my blood tests back and they were all normal (Thank goodness!) except my white blood cell count which was low.

What does a low WBC count mean and what can be done to increase it (except gaining weight which i'm working on!!)

K xx

15 Replies (last)

the white blood cells are used for fighting infections

It means your immune system is really weak I think. I had the same problem in my blood (and still in recent blood work even though I've been in recovery since september). I think it only improves with better nutrition and by gaining weight. :) (mine has improved over the months)

There is a product - check with your doctor - called Immunocal. It's a nutritional supplement, and is listed as effective in the Physician's Desk Reference. It has been clinically proven to help your immune system.

Thanks for the answers guys. I have to have another blood test in two weeks :( Bah how i HATE my ED!

I have this also.  Look up Neutropenia and Leukopenia.  They are conditions that involve low WBC count.  Have you had this problem for an extended period of time?  Is it related to your ED - did your doc tell you?  

FYI - these are auto-immune disorders.  I am not sure that taking immunity boosting supplements will address the problem.  Ask your doc. 

I don't have an ED, just appear to have this condition.  I have had at least two blood tests over the last 3 years that show low WBC count - also low platelets, so my WBC count varies from time to time.  It is not confined to those with EDs, it can be caused by a number of things, including a vitamin/mineral deficiency.  Although my doc is skeptical that vitamin therapy will help me, I am going to supplement my B6, folic acid and copper. 

If you have been restricting your food intake for an extended period of time, I would guess (and this is only a guess based on what I have read so far) that your condition could be the result of a vitamin or mineral deficiency.  Are you going to a hematologist?  That's who you might want to see about this if your general physician determines your test is low again.  The hematologist will be able to better pinpoint the source of the problem. 

Good luck - don't stress out. 

hi girl, i get bloods done weekly for ED monitoring & my WBC count has been low as long as my weight has been low which is a while, but as nutrition increases & your body begins to trust you again to know that it is recieving enough to build energy in the immune system it should begin to improve.

good luck <3

I found some good tips on eHow. Mostly about food (meat, fish, veg, healthy oils) but alos some precautions.

Has your uni already started? Have you spoken to a doctor about it or was this just given to you by a nurse. How low is low???

Insist on talking to a doctor about it. My experience with the NHS whne I lived in the UK is that as long as you don't walk in there with your arm falling half off they tend to ignore you unless you are persistent. They do help you if your keep banging at their door, but please please don't expect anybody in your local practice to reach out for oyu. Most of them don't really care, they've got too much to do. It's a bit up to you to make them help you.

(However, if you do happen to live in Kentish Town London I can recommend a great docotre in the James Wigg practice)

PS. The CC Overview like you kiki :-) I keep comong across your threads on there.

Get well soon!

Hey Kikt (again lol)

My uni wont start until September and by then i hope to weigh a bit more.

I got my bloods back on Friday and they doctors rang ME 3 times to get me to book another appointment (even though i had already booked one! My doctors seem very keen to see me!)

The nurse just said it was 'low' so i'm not sure how low :(

CC must know i'm cool and want everyone to share in my coolness :)

K xx

P.s The thing with my dad, his heart Op and telling him about my ED. Well he knows now. I told him a couple of nights ago.

When I came into IP on Tuesday, my WBC was 2000 units below the minimum. After only 3 days of eating 4500cal a day with no exercise, my WBC boosted to 3000 units above the minimum. It can range from 3500units-11000units. I came in at 3200 and now have 3800. Mine increased faster than the usual (which the doctor said was GREAT!), but it's all about the nutrition and weight gain. They will come back as long as you do that. :)


it's very usual to have a low WBC with an ED. Mine has been low for a while, buhe ED doc at my assessment appointments said it was entirely normal, no surprise and she wouldn't bat an eyelid at it - it will come up automatically with increased food intake and weight gain. So staying strong and eating more is the key! Good luck!

thanks for the replies guys.

I have been asked to go back for another test. If it is due to my ED - which i'm sure it is - why do they need to do another test?  Just to confirm that its low? Seems a tad pointless.

Original Post by kiki_725:

thanks for the replies guys.

I have been asked to go back for another test. If it is due to my ED - which i'm sure it is - why do they need to do another test?  Just to confirm that its low? Seems a tad pointless.

Let them. They might want to double check to make sure you're getting the right medication.

You are very vulnerable at the moment - it's great that they keep an eye on you!

And, hey, maybe a dramatic test result might make your mom lay off a tad ;-)

All the best for you and your Dad!

any abnormal result requires a repeat - they are often spuriously, so a repeat test is the norm and just them doing a good job :-)


Funny you should ask this question because this is what I came across in my studies and what I experienced when I had an ED.

White blood cells (WBC) also known as leukocytes, and their collective function is to  fight infection and cancer by phagocytosis and remove dead cells in the body.  There are five types of wbc but I won't bore you with all the names.  The lymphatic system, which is involved in both innate and acquired immunity, consists of branching network of vessels, and lymph nodes which are packed with WBC.  The two main functions of the lymphatic system are to return fluid from interstitial spaces to the circulatory system and to combat infection.

When your entire lymphatic system and immune system are down your body cannot produce enough WBC.  Thus you feel fatigue, weak, and when you have an ED this makes things even worse.  It isn't uncommon for those with an ED to have a suppressed immune system (ie. low WBC count).  Additionally you are activating your organs, circulatory system, immune system and lymphatic system become a major battleground for survival. 

Also note, an abnormally low amount of hemoglobin (low number of WBC) is a condition called anemia.  Anemia is also common in those with an ED. It is also more common in woman than men.  But since you said all your blood work is normal besides the WBC; I hope your red blood cell count is too.

If it is any constitution,  when I had anorexia nervosa and bulimia my WBC was severely low and at one point below 1 which is close to fatal amongst other parts of my system nearly shutting down.  However, when I began recovery 1.5 years ago and began ingesting all those nutrients from food (yes even junk food) it helped my overall system.  I monitored my blood work and it took about a year for my WBC to jump to 4. 

 The healthy range is 4-9.  Anything below 4 needs medical attention.  However, it isn't inevitable for your WBC to improve and since you are recovering from an ED it is mainly due to giving enough fat, nutrients and care your body needs to function properly and build up your immune system. 

Recovery is a slow process so give it time.  It is vital you keep track of your blood work and follow up with your doctors.  I was very diligent with this because I wanted to get where I am today.  I know it can be a pain to be poked and tiresome to see doctors but stick with it. 

 Message me anytime!

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i know this is an old thread but please help....... Frown

can wbc reduced from vegan diet? my wbc was reduce now is 3.55 usually it was high or higher though i havent checked for months and dont keep a record but found my result from january 2013 which is 6.5

please dont freak me out more since i already read bad info and pretty concern. im thinking of going to hematologist but im worried now. Yell

lately around a month i do lack of sleeping, eating and lose weight pretty much in a month (not because i want to lose weight but because i do have food and chemical intolerance i usually cook by myself but i couldnt cook more lately so i had to eat less) and mostly eat carb some veggies 1-2 eggs only per day. fish, soy twice a week. but im worried if its because of that only or other cause.

ps: i already have a weak condition and health problematic since a child. i also take beta blocker cause i have heart tachycardia palpitation for years. thats why this concerns me more.

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