High Lymphocyte levels

Since i started taking an interest in my blood test results (which started in Jan this year when i signed up to HU) i noticed that my Lymphocyte level was high. since then i have had 3 more FBC and although my other blood levels have changed and gone back into range or in and out of range my Lymphocytes have been continually high and out of range.

Out of the blue a couple of weeks ago i received a referral from the hospital to go to the Haematology department but didn't know what it was for as my doctor never mentioned it too me.... so when i rang up to find out what it was for, i was told my doctor had referred me to see if my Lymphocytes are something that should be looked into further.

I made the big mistake of googling what they were and did and all that came up were different kinds of Lymphomas and cancers. since then i have found that it could be due to my Thyroid but surely it would of been noticed earlier (that my Lymphs were high and then monitored) and my thyroid levels are within range and classed as subclinical.

So, I kind of need someone to maybe reassure me or calm me down somehow so i stop stressing about all the different cancers it could be and convincing myself that, that's what it is and also any advice on what happens at Haematology appointments like this as it's making me really anxious and not knowing what to expect doesn't help.

I'd really appreciate it :)

12 Replies

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  • HI - I've had raised lymphocytes for years. I too was referred to Haematology and Oncology originally. One of the things they had to check for was Non-Hodgkins lymphoma. I panicked, of course, but my levels didn't change for the next 5 years until the team finally signed me off.

    It's only been this last few months that I learned that my lymphocytes are raised because they are attacking the thyroid. It happens with Hashimotos.

    From Google "Hashimoto's thyroiditis or chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis is an autoimmune disease..."

    Have a look on the internet. This is one of those times when doing a bit of reading up on the subject will reassure you, I hope.

  • Hi, I was diagnosed with Hashimoto's about 5 years ago now but wasn't aware that there was one connected to the lymphocytes.

    I'll have a look on google to find out more about it...thank you

  • nikki,

    It is usual to have a high WBC in Hashi sufferers as large numbers of white blood cells (lymphocytes) accumulate in the thyroid creating the antibodies that drive the autoimmune process (antibodies against thyroid peroxidase enzyme and/or thyroglobulin causing gradual destruction of follicles in the thyroid gland).

    Lymphocytes are killer T cells that attack anything they don't recognise such as bacteria or viruses (Th-1 and TH-2) or B cell that produce the antibodies and T helpers & T regulators turn on & off the immune response.

    There are more compounds released as inflammation is initiated and lymphocytes do raise in blood cancer, etc but when killer T cells and B cells don't work in balance, this is when autoimmunity starts such as Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (chronic lymphocytic thyroiditis).

    The standard care for a Hashimoto’s patient is to simply wait until the immune system has destroyed enough thyroid tissue to classify them as hypothyroid, when their hormone is replaced with levothyroxine and the autoimmune side is never investigated. When the lymphocytes count is lowered, the body goes into a state of remission and we feel better but if the root cause is triggered again we can relapse. That is what autoimmunity is.

    My lymphocytes count was high for years but I haven't had it checked again lately. It can also go chronically low when the immune system becomes so compromised, it can't even recognise the antibodies so doesn't initiate a response.

  • Very interesting replies to this question! I have had a total thyroidectomy (TT), and I always have high lymphocytes. For one period of about a year they were raising every month. But the one time they didn't raise was the 6 weeks a haemotologist checked them :p

    Just to reassure you about going there, probably what will happen is tha haematologist will look at your results, snort a bit and say "Oh, your GP thought these results were high, did they?". The usual routine with specialists is that they will ask you to go for blood tests or some other tests that day, or they will ask you to come back in 6 weeks and have the tests either on that day or earlier in that week so they have results in their hand when you see then again.

    Often on the first session they will ask you some questions about your history, and may outline of they have any concerns about your results that they've seen. I was actually very lucky with my recent haematologist, he was one of the kindest and most informative specialists I've seen. He was quite honest with me that he'd never heard of T3, which I was taking at the time, and knew nothing about thyroids. He googled several things in front of me.

    He also showed me one figure on my full blood counts to do with haemoglobin, and told me if that got above a certain number he would treat me, but otherwise discharge me. Of course his quoted number was well out of the range. He hardly cared about lymphocytes, I've often been told "Oh, if you had glandular fever or something, this number would be about 100x the top of the range". I think they were more interested in infections, generally, as I got sent for one test I've never heard of, which I think was looking for unusual bacteria.

    The good news was they also tested for quite a few of the vitamins I wanted to know anyway for thyroid purposes, like ferritin.

    Good luck, but be calm. Most of these things are just formalities to tick things off of lists. When you have thyroid problems a lot of bits of your body will not work quite properly as thyroid hormones are needed by every cell and organ in your body.

  • Another thing worth noting is that doctors love to say “These symptoms aren't because of your thyroid! Instead of that one relatively simple explanation, we'd prefer to believe you've got 2 or 3 or even more other things wrong with you that each explain one tiny symptom”. It's actually quite unlikely you have a second, independent thing wrong with you, it's probably still just your thyroid. If the haematologist is very good, you may be able to get them to admit this, or even better write it in their letter to your GP.

  • Thank you, I feel much better about the appointment now.

    Which vitamins did they check for if you don't mind me asking? There are a few in addition to the ones my gp does now that I'd like to have checked to do with my thyroid and I'm wondering if they could do them for me?

  • Just looking over the blood tests they did, actually the only thing on the usual list of things people on ThyroidUK ask for was Ferritin.

    They also did: calcium profile, liver function, ESR, CRP, full blood count, urea & electrolytes, full blood count, and HODS, which I hadn't heard of before and was some kind of bacteria profile. I was actually never able to see the results from this even after paying for my whole medical history from the hospital, it was implied that the results weren't a normal printout but something like maybe microscope slides.

  • I get all them tested regularly apart from the HODS (I've never heard of it either) so i probably won't be able to get the others i wanted tested done :(

  • I get mine tested privately through Blue Horizon. Or if you only want vitamin D, City Assays is cheaper.

  • I have looked into Blue Horizon and it would cost me £460 to do what looks like a full Vitamin Panel so i'm not gonna be able to afford that. I don't need all of them tested as a few get done through my GP or Endo but i'm just curious to see how many are out of range or not optimal as all the ones tested so far have been one or the other. I'll have a look at City Assays.

  • The main ones that are considered important with thyroid are: B12, folate, D, and ferritin. I think with BlueHorizon you can get those for under £100. Although for lymphocyte issues it could be a whole other set. Out of curiosity which ones are you interested in?

  • I get them ones done through my GP and have deficiencies in all of them. I'm interested in the rest of them as i think that if the ones i've had tested so far are out of range or not optimal then the chances are the rest of them are too especially because i don't have much of a diet to intake a lot them.

    I guess i'll never find out unless i find £460 :(

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