Blood Work: T-cells / Percentages
You may have noticed when you get your blood work done, there's a place on your lab results that tells you what your percentage is. This is an important marker that can help you decide when to start, continue, or change medications.
The CD4 or T-cell percentage is the number that tells you how much of your total white blood cells are actually T-cells. Most people who are not immune compromised have a CD4 percentage of 30 to 65% (the range varies depending on the laboratory). Basically your T-cell count & your percentage are looking at similar things. Your count gives you an absolute number while percentage gives you an overview of your T-cells in relation to the rest of your lymphocytes (white blood cells).
Many people with AIDS use their percentage along with their T-cell counts and viral loads to make decisions about anti-HIV therapy. Obviously it gives you more information and although the percentage does fluctuate, it appears that it doesn't fluctuate as much as your T-cell count does.
If you plotted out at least a year or more of your counts and your percentages on a graph, you would most likely see a trend in both of them in the same direction, but not at the same rate.
It's certainly up to you whether or not you want to ask for your percentages, but definitely consider it. After all, the more information you have, the better !
Reprinted from "WISE" an AIDS treatment newsletter for and about women with HIV/AIDS.
If you have questions about your blood work, call Nina at Women Alive: Toll-Free: 1.800.554.4876 or email her at: askNina@aol.com
This article was provided by Women Alive. It is a part of the publication Women Alive Newsletter.