White blood count

Has anyone else had a high white blood cell count for an extended period of time? My rheumy nurse who I've seen 3 times keeps mentioning how high my white blood count is and says it's been sitting high since October last year, which is when I first visited my GP with joint swelling and pain. I am just a little concerned as my rheumy nurse says its infection?? And when I mentioned it to my GP he says its inflammation? If it is inflammation surely the steroid injections, anti inflammatory tablets and methotrexate should be bringing the levels down slightly? Maybe the combination I'm taking needs to change?

7 Replies

  • Raised white blood cell count can be caused by all sorts of things - including inflammation and also infection! Basically the white blood cells are your body's warrior army, and when there's a threat to your body like infection or inflammation your body goes into overdrive producing extra soldiers to go out & fight. Also some meds, including steroids, can cause raised counts.

    It may well be that the nurse is just making conversation, and "high" just means a fraction over normal which is probably nothing to worry about at all. Do you have an idea of the actual numbers and how high it really is? If it is significantly over normal and you're worried you could book an appointment with GP and ask to discuss this, and be reassured about why?

  • Thanks for replying, I have an appointment on the 7th so will check how high then, also recently had a podiatrist app and he mentioned it too also "googled" reasons while I was in his office!

  • I had a high blood count when I went for my infusion on Monday. They said it was either an infection or the inflammation caused by active RA. That's what it was

  • Hi! I had a very similar story. Before my RA showed itself in my joints I was a year being investigated for infection as I felt rubbish and my white cell count was raised. Went through all the antibiotics known to man!! Went through ENT and neurology and nothing was found. Felt a little better on the antibiotics and then back to rubbish a week after coming off them which is why we carried on with the it must be an infection business. Then out of the blue about a year or so later I couldn't move, saw a rheumatologist & was diagnosed. He was not in the least concerned about the raised WCC as it was part of the package given the inflammation. As time went on and various drugs later ( including DMARDs & long term steroids) his excuse for the still raised WCC was that steroids give it a false reading even though I knew none of these DMARDS were helping me at all and the only thing that was making life bearable was the steroids. Eventually after 3 years I passed the test for funding for biologics and after no success with a couple finally got put on an IV biologic and after 3 months on that my WCC started to come down. My inflammation was finally reducing and that's been the case for coming up 2 years now. It's my miracle drug after 5 years of no control!! So I guess my story is saying when the inflammation is controlled your WCC will reduce and I really think a Rheumy nurse should know that.

    Good luck in your journey x

  • I would suggest a discussion with your GP or Rheumy Team. My white blood cell count is always on the high side but due to long term usage of prednisolone. But that is me and you need to know what is causing your white blood cells to be inflated.

  • Wow, I learn something every day from this site. My WBC levels go up off steriods and down when on them. I had not ever heard it could be from inflammation. I have always been told you must have an infection despite me saying I did not feel as if I did and not responding to antibitics. This throws a new light on it all but to me also makes a lot of sense. x

  • Interesting post, I was taken off clopidogrel due to excessively bad bruising and was due for an epidural so I had to stop it anyway. It was originally prescribed as an anti platelet following 3 strokes. I was given a blood test after the epidural and I requested a follow up one with the nurse the next week and this is where it gets interesting. That 2nd test, which hadn't been ordered by my GP showed low red cell count, so another one, that showed a high white cell count with red normal, so another one and that showed high white and low red :) As you can guess I had another and it looked ok, so 3 weeks later I had a supposed final one to check and that showed my red count down again. My very confused GP and me! asked if I had any of the reason for having low red and explained that I might need a, forgot the name, but it is camera up the ...., he said he would have one more test and I had a phone call today from another GP, mine only works 2 days, saying my white cell count was high again, red ok yet again, she asked any infections and somewhat worryingly, I have already booked to see my GP next week, that if I don't feel well to contact them immediately. I will try and update this after my next GP visit, sooner or later but it is very confusing, especially as I was told after my first test that there was something wrong with my white cell count, I know one of the reasons for it. The causes could be many, the multitude of medication I am on or the underlying cause of my problems, Enthesitis, but it looks like my acceptance of my condition, which had a low level, currently, of RA, now has other problems to add to it. If anyone on here has an explanation, please let me know, I am not a worrier as such, I just want an explanation of the diagnosis and prognosis, so I can prepare and plan for it.

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