blood work

Mar. 9th, 2014 03:55 pm
mellowtigger: (dna)
[personal profile] mellowtigger
I had some blood tests run recently, and the results were... interesting.  I wish the USA had a first-world healthcare system.  I'd pay cash right now for another brain MRI if I could get a fee schedule like this Canadian company, but here it's impossible to even get a straight answer about how much the procedure costs.  Go, Team America!  But... I'll leave behind the politics for now.

White blood cells develop into 1 of 5 main types. (I found this wikipedia image helpful.) Three related kinds are called basophils, neutrophils, and eosinophils. Together, they are the polymorphonuclear (or PMN) cell family. Their near-cousin is the monocyte. Their distant-cousin is the leukocyte (natural killer cell, T-cells, and B-cells).

I have to mention that background because my latest blood tests muddle the issue slightly.  Automated machinery can stain the cells in a blood sample and count the various kinds of these 5 white blood cells. Not-so-good machines are unable to distinguish between all 5, so they end up with only 3 groups: PMN, leukocyte, and monocyte (as a mid-range size cell). My recent blood results use this less-advanced machinery. Here are some blood results over the years.  I started complaining of neuropathy in 2006 (I think?) and muscle twitches in 2009.

Date:
Expected Range
Lymphocytes
24 (or 20)-48 %
Monocytes
0-12 %
Neutrophils
40-75 %
Basophils
0-2 %
Eosinophils
0-6 %
Bilirubin-Total
0.2-1.3 (or 1.0) mg/dL
Bilirubin-Direct
0.05-0.24 mg/dL
B12
211-911 pg/dL
Folate
3-16 ng/dL
2/28/201420.412.0 "MID %"67.6 "PMN %"1.60.2745218
11/18/201130.57.256.80.45.1    
5/20/2010361147060.6 33411.9
2/2/2010        16.5
1/12/201035950061.6   
2007 ?       285 ? 
6/6/2003     1.0   

I see a few trends here.  First, the good news is that my B12 climbed significantly after my gut infection was finally cured in 2012.  I thought my first blood test in 2007 showed B12 at 285, so it's improved a lot. I appear to be absorbing B12 properly again.  Yay!  I do periodically show high levels of Bilirubin and Folate.  I'm not sure what they mean.  My genetic testing with 23andMe shows that I have a predisposition for primary biliary cirrhosis, and the bilirubin could be related to it. 

The troublesome data trend is the decreasing leukocyte percentage.  The usual culprits are either HIV-infection or leukemia, but I don't think either of those conditions are in my future.  (edit 3/17/2014: Blood tests for neuron-related infections show that I do not have Lyme disease, HIV, or syphilis.)  A common theme that can tie together the leukocytes, bilirubin, genetic risk, and symptom history, however, is my usual favorite... multiple sclerosis.

My current doctor is in a new healthcare network for me, so he doesn't have any of this history.  He wants to wait a month and test me again to see if results hold the same.  I'm trying to withhold my impatience and let the American healthcare system work its slow bureaucratic process.  What I really want right now is a new brain MRI.  I may give up and just self-diagnose myself with MS then see what diet and lifestyle changes I could make that would improve my long-term outcome.

More news next month, I guess.
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