Persistent Low White Blood Cell Count and Hypothyroidism - any link?

Diagnosed as hypothyroid in Jan 2013. Have just got some blood tests back and very disappointed to see that my white blood cell count has once again dipped - 2.9 (4.0-11.0). My Neutrophil count is 1.3 (2.0-7.5). I have also over the last several months been treated for anaemia, but that picture has very much improved of late (HB 139 range: 116-156, RBC 4.63 range 3.9-5.1), so surprised that WBC is low. Have been seeing a haematologist, but they only deal with my anaemia/white blood cell count, always backs off when I mention my hypothyroidism. Haematologist did point out that my anaemia/white blood cells seemed to work in tandem, dropping together, but on this occasion, doesn't seem to be the case.

Is there a link between compromised immune system and hypothyroidism? Can anyone suggest any reading?? or is it simply a case of the hypothyroidism makes me "run down"

For reference recently asked for a print-out after an appointment that shows that my WBC count has been "abnormal"/"critical" since 2000 over a total of 29 blood tests.

Any thoughts/observations would be most welcome.

Postscript: Do know that my Ferritin is low - as of May it was 24, expect it to have improved in the meantime as I have been continuing to take 2 x Ferrous Sulphate with Vit C every day.

36 Replies

  • I read somewhere that low white blood count can be associated with Lyme Disease? Maybe someone with more knowledge can jump in here and help me out...

  • Thanks for getting back to me hampster1. Did you see the post by rosetrees 3 days ago on this very subject? I haven't been tested for Lyme Disease, but am due to see my GP in a couple of weeks and am wondering about asking for a test. I do go walking often and despite being really careful have managed to pick up a couple of ticks over the years. Removed them with seemingly no after-effects (eg: nasty rash or whatever), but there is something that is knocking my immune-system etc. etc...."out of kilter" and we just seem to be drawing a blank and I am beginning to wonder if it could possibly be this.

  • Beware of the Lyme tests in this country. Look at Natalia's response the other day regarding the Western Blot test. Lyme tests in this country are notoriously inaccurate.!/#thyro...

    Lyme disease has certainly become one of my daughter's problems (again it was only discovered in the USA, not here) but we think this was because of her already compromised immune system.

    Jane x

  • Thanks for that. I have just had a look at Natalia's response and see what you mean.

  • Hi Jane, I was bit by a tick had the rash but western blot was not conclusive, I continued to spiral down hill, muscles bones thyroid kidney to name few, I swear it was the bite. What would you suggest in terms of blood test and could you tell me where to obtain these please. Xx

  • Bulls Eye rash isn't always present. I've had a round weal after a bug bite that didn't heal for weeks -until Antibiotics did it.

    I couldn't get a Lyme test -though I had it added to list,

    Get one for certain -if you can get your Dr convinced.

    Otherwise, consider going private for one.

    Private cost to me £70 + consult fee- doing it Weds.

    PS: Is it possible to post a pic on here?

  • Thank you for this tegz. Would be interested to hear what the outcome is.

  • My daughter's white blood count was consistently low for YEARS - in fact since she was a baby and had Roseola (she is now 33). No doctor was able to explain why this was the case. All they could say was "Oh she must be fighting an infection", but she clearly didn't have an overt infection like the flu, a cold, sore throat etc. To cut a long story short we finally discovered that she has had a seriously compromised immune system because of Roseola which is caused by the HHV6 virus and she still has it hiding in her system. It was only discovered after we went to the USA and she had special tests which search for chronic viruses, and yes, this was the root cause of her hypothyroidism and other problems and infections that she has since acquired.

    I recommend that you read these posts and look at the further information I've made in them to see if they are relevant for you. We were amazed when we finally found the cause of my daughter's problems after so much time:!/#thyro...!/#thyro...!/#thyro...

    Jane x

  • Thank you so much for this Jane. I haven't even heard of Roseoia. Will definitely look into it.

  • What kind if doc diagnosed these for ur daughter. I'm looking for direction for myself. I don't which kind of doc to see.

  • What kind if doc diagnosed these for ur daughter. I'm looking for direction for myself. I don't which kind of doc to see.

  • Hi, Can you tell me what test they used to find the HHV6 virus and or what sort of doctor you took her to? My 15 year old daughter has thrombocytopenia now (56,000), she has high antithyroglobulin (8) , white blood cell count on the lower side, also relatively low ferritin which seems to be decreasing. Her TSH is low side of normal .55, Free T3 normal 3.4, Free T4 normal 1.1 Reverse T3 is not back yet and she tested negative for Lyme. She used to have canker sores all the time and then she got the HPV vac last October and they disappeared....but all this happened too. That's what makes me think HHV might be lurking somewhere in her body and causing all this.

  • Hi Kiscomom, Your query is showing in my mail box and I think it was "Hidden Administrator" who signs herself off as "Jane" above that you really wanted to speak to. I think if you click the reply button at the bottom of her post then I think she will be alerted. Please any administrators out there, correct me if I'm wrong. I hope you get sorted Kiscomom.

  • "Hidden" means no longer a member.

    There is no-one to send a notification of a reply to!

  • Hello, We went to see a doctor in the USA as we'd tried doctors in the UK and Europe for many years because of what we thought was just a thyroid/adrenal problem. However, he tested her for HHV6, Lyme Disease, Mycotoxins and various other things. These three tests were positive and he started treatment. It was the inflammation caused by these infections that had caused her thyroid dysfunction. Jane x

  • Hi

    I also have low white blood cell count, which dates from my hypot diagnosis BUT it could have been there before, or coincide with becoming hypo or even be the result of taking levo. I don't which since I had no prior blood tests to act as a control.

    In my case it was monitored for a few years then, when there was no improvement, I had the dreaded bone marrow aspiration. The conclusion was that it is autoimmune neutropenia. The docs said not surprising since also am hypot - except that my hypot never diagnosed as autoimmune!

    Most important is to ensure it is monitored.

    A friend just had a bone marrow aspiration and he is hoping when they know the cause they can treat his fatigue - in my experience if it's autoimmune they won't treat as they don't believe it causes fatigue on its own. Personally not convinced.

    Hope this helps

  • Thanks for your response Sandi. Although I have the information that shows that my white blood cell count has been "abnormal"/"critical" since 2000 and, as I said above, my hypothyroidism was only diagnosed in January of this year, I think I have had a long period of time where my hypothyroidism has been undiagnosed - could even stretch that far who knows....

    My haematologist has written back to my GP saying I have neutropenia, but does not specify any other detail.

    I know that my hypothyroidism is a result of an autoimmune response.

    I have recently changed GP and my new GP seems right on it monitoring-wise.....initial indications are that she wants to get to the bottom of this, which is a huge old GP just wasn't taking it all on board, so consequently had been struggling for years.

  • Think I was lucky that the haemo kept me monitored and although my levels weren't dropping further decided after a couple of years of the level being low to do the bone marrow aspiration. At least this confirmed it was autoimmune not a problem with white cell production.

    This was at least a direct route to the answer saving lots of trial and error from GP! Of course there is nothing they can do about it because it's autoimmune.

    High dose vit c is supposed to help and my levels have gone up slightly using that.

  • This is an interesting thread. My Mum Hypo and T4 only treatment had persistent low white blood cell count and was told by her last GP that this showed she had "fibromyalgia rheumatica" and therefore prescribed her steroids - result enormous weight gain and little relief. She also had a complete medical encyclopedia of other signs and symptoms and was a very poorly lady.

    I have autoimmune hypo and low WBC on some test results - due more tests in a couple of weeks.

    Thanks for posting MacG

  • The scary thing about this seems to me to be that what you are diagnosed with or what tests you have or don't have appears to be more to do with which doctor you have - unless of course your Mum had other symptoms that led directly to that diagnosis.

  • This is an interesting thread. My Mum Hypo and T4 only treatment had persistent low white blood cell count and was told by her last GP that this showed she had "fibromyalgia rheumatica" and therefore prescribed her steroids - result enormous weight gain and little relief. She also had a complete medical encyclopedia of other signs and symptoms and was a very poorly lady.

    I have autoimmune hypo and low WBC on some test results - due more tests in a couple of weeks.

    Thanks for posting MacG

  • Thank you for getting in touch Sarah. Would be very interested to see how things progress for you.

  • Low white blood cell count is also connected with vitamin B12 deficiency

  • Really? That'll explain mine then ;-) I always put it down to being on Carbimazole.

  • yes, I learnt this from this video:

  • Yes I've watched this before, very depressing case studies. I obviously glossed over the science bit at the time! So much to still learn.

  • Meant to say thanks for the link. x

  • Many thanks for this and for the link below. It is interesting that you mention this. We have a family history of Vit B12 deficiency (pernicious anaemia?) have just been tested and awaiting results.

  • What test have you had done?

  • Not sure. GP just said we will test your B12. Are there different tests??

  • The doc's probably done serum B12. This is a measure of all the B12 circulating in your blood. The problem with it is a large percentage of that is in an inactive form which your body can do nothing with. It also doesn't tell you anything about what's happening at tissue level. Also, the range is set extremely low so misses a lot of people that are deficient. So I guess what I'm saying is if you are in the low normal range, say between 200 and 500, you could still have a problem. Wait and see, and post your result when you get it. There are better tests - Active B12, MMA, homocysteine - that give a better picture of what's going on, but no gold standard test. And you have to pay for them. For autoimmune B12 deficiency (pernicious anaemia) they can do antibody tests for anti-parietal cells and anti-intrinsic factor.

  • Thanks so much for this hamster 1. Knowledge is power!!

  • Hi MacG. I have had autoimmune Graves disease (hyperthyroidism) for 2 years and have been on carbimazole all that time. I have also got a very low white blood cell count 0.6 so am seeing a haematologist who is monitoring my blood count. Basically he said my neutropenia is also autoimmune, my body is destroying my white blood cells. i am told that once you have one autoimmune disease you are open to getting more :( The problem for me is the carbimazole has a side effect of destroying white blood cells so I now inject myself every week with G-CSF which boosts your count. This is non steroid, so no weight gain, and is working very well. My endo is trying to get me to have RAI but I am refusing so not sure how much longer they will allow me to have the drugs. The good news is I feel great with very little side effects from either auto disease. long may it last :)

  • Thank you for your response jes99. I am interested to hear that you are receiving treatment that is non steroid. What is RAI? Good to hear that your medication is working for you.

  • Hi. Just found this site. I Google Lwc count and Hashimotos. Mine is 1.8 with a consistent TSH less l than .01 for last four or more years. My daily life involves gut wrenching pain. Sick of being sick doesn't begin to e plain how I feel. That was last year's quote. Seen endocrinologists and countless doctors, the reporting of which is same as each and every blog on this page. nana died of toxic thyroid and dad is dying of amongst other ailments). I am now just seeing a naturopath. Does anyone have any answers

  • I've been told to go gluten free because of my hashimotos thyroid disease by my naturopath and M.D who also studies functional medicine.

    Has anyone checked you for celiac disease or gluten intolerance to see if that's what's causing your pain? If a Celiac test came back negative, you may still be gluten intolerant. To see for yourself, go off of gluten for a few weeks and see if you notice an improvement in your pain/symptoms. Sometimes people don't notice the difference until they reintroduce the gluten back into their diet after being off of it for at least 3-6 weeks. My symptoms showed immediately and consisted of foggy brain, headaches, jittery etc.

    The functional health M.D has recommended I read the book called " The Autoimmune Fix" by Tom O'Bryan, DC, CCN, DACBN

    This is a fantastic book that is helping me to find the answers to so many of the questions I have about "WHY" my body is attacking its own thyroid. This book also covers the other autoimmune disorders as well.

    I now have a better understanding of why my doctors told me to go off of gluten when I was diagnosed with hashimotos thyroid. Good luck!!

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