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Understanding Your LabsUnderstanding Your Labs
           
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worried about labs
Nov 28, 2004

I have just received back some basic lab work and I getting very worried about my health. I do not currently have access to CD4 tesing as I live rural and have limited money (just scraping by). I have been getting CBC done by a very kind clinic and my numbers are as follows for today and also for 2002:

RBC = 4.67 (2004), 4.40 (2002) Hemoglobin = 154 (2004), 136 (2002) Hematocrit = 0.43 (2004), 0.39 (2002) WBC = 5.5 (2004), 5.1 (2002) Platelets = 247 (2004), 212 (2002) Lymphocytes = 1.65 (2004), 1.60 (2002)

I also have platelet and RBC smears that are recoreded as adequate and normal. I also have blood test from 2003 that are very similar to these. It looks to me like my current numbers are within normal ranges and maybe a little bit better than they were in 2002, which is encouraging. I feel pretty good other than some lymph node swelling and the occasional sweating. I am not on medication as I need to move to a better (and more private) location to get access to meds. I have gained weight in the past 2 years and I am not missing any work. What worries me is that I read letters on your website from people saying that they were just diagnosed and there CD4 counts are terrible (much less than 100). Is it not realistic to expect some clues in your health if your immune system is in such poor shape? I am worried due to having no access presently to the expensive tests, which leads me to the following questions:

1) Do you see anything alarming in my bloodwork that suggests a really weak immune system? Does 1650 lymphocytes indicate a fairly good immune system when coupled with the other numbers? 2) Do you see any troubling trends when comparing to 2002? 3) Do numbers such as RBC, Platelets and hemoglobin usually drop noticably when CD4 is very low? Is there anything I should be wary of with future lab results when viewing this data? I am trying to get my life together and step one will be a realistic look at my current health condition. The next step will be to move to an area where I can find better support for my illness. I have read other letters and I know that you do not like to guesstimate numbers for CD4, but anything you can do for me would be a great service. I am very impressed by the amount of useful information on your website as it must represent a lot of effort put in by your staff. Thank you.

Larry

Response from Dr. Holodniy

No trend seen in those lab values and you do need to get a CD4 count to know where you are on the HIV spectrum.



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