My CBC test came back showing the Lymphs, Absolute is low, at 1.1. Normal range is 1.2–3.4. What does this mean? I just finished a round of antibiotics and I'm on a mild steroid cream for itchy skin. Can this be affecting the result?
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Hi @ames, Antibiotics by themselves have no effect on lymphocytes but the underlying infection that required the antibiotics treatment could cause your lymphocytes to be lower. It’s not unusual for the blood numbers to fluctuate when recovering from an illness.
A low level of lymphocytes in the blood can be caused by various factors. For example, nutrient deficiencies, stress, and fasting can all cause your lymphocyte count to drop. If there’s a significant drop then your doctor might look for another cause such as viral infection, autoimmune and inflammatory conditions, or certain cancers.
At 1.1 you’re just under the low norm so it’s not alarming. Was there a specific reason your doctor ordered the CBC? Have you had a chat with your doctor since you received your blood results?
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My mother died of leukemia and so I have a CBC test once a year just to make just everything is normal. I made an appointment with my doctor but can't get in for a month. I also tried using the "portal" to email him but it can take a while to get a response. I tried doing some 'googling' but was finding such confusing, conflicting information. I trust the Mayo Clinic and while searching the site I stumbled across "Connect." Thank you very much for the feedback!
Good morning @ames, welcome to Mayo Connect, I’m happy you stumbled across our forum. I hope you’ll take the time to peruse the more than 75+ groups. You’ll find that Connect is unique and very welcoming. We members all work together to help answer questions and offer support based on our personal experiences. Feel free to jump into any conversation where you feel you can contribute.
I’m so sorry for the loss of your mother. Given your mom’s leukemia history, I can certainly understand your concern and you’re wise in having blood numbers checked annually. But don’t live in fear of developing leukemia. Most cases of leukemia are totally random and usually not familial or genetic, just random mutations, as was my acute myeloid leukemia. I had no family history of blood cancers (except my brother and his was chemically induced with Agent Orange).
When you do see your blood results, try to put the CBC in context with regard to other blood parameters. Are your hemoglobin, absolute neutrophils, platelets and RBC counts all within normal limits? Being only .1 under the lower limit could easily fall within random testing variations. Unless other blood parameters are showing a shift, it’s really not a big cause for concern. One point in time does not a trend make…if you have leukemia, you will see a trend.
What type of leukemia did your mother have?
Thank you– your comments are very helpful! I don't know what type of leukemia my mother had– it came on hard and fast– 1 week from being diagnosed she died. I asked several of my family but they don't remember either. It happened right after 911 so add that to her death and we were a bit overwhelmed. I can remember the doctor telling us– but not what he said. I think the fact that I've been intensely tired since November of last year, and I've had an infection that won't respond to antibiotics caused me to wonder if something else was going on.
I posted my fourth short YouTube episode in a series of 4-5 minute videos of our strategies and lessons learned over 30 years with myeloma and 10 with AML. My last episode covered how we view one test Result. Here’s the link. My YouTube channel is myeloma 30 years Patient 007
It sounds very much like your mother had Acute Myeloid Leukemia. That’s a hallmark of AML. My oncologist likened it to a Texas thunder storm. You can have a gorgeous summer’s day with everything going along beautifully, then all of a sudden the clouds build, and the next thing you know you have an F-5 tornado. Your mom’s experience paralleled mine. I’m so sorry she passed away from it. AML is a formidable foe.
I hope you find some answers to your tiredness and infection that won’t clear up. Will you let me know what you find out from your doctor’s visit?
Thank you Lori, yes, I will let you know how this all pans out. It will take a few weeks but I will get back to you!
I posted my fifth short YouTube episode in a series of 4-5 minute videos of our strategies and lessons learned over 30 years with myeloma and 10 with AML. My last episode covered Sharing our story. Here’s the link. My YouTube channel is myeloma 30 years Patient 007
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