Being a Lymey caused me to gain so much knowledge in the medical field. The constant blood works, the research I do during all my sleepless nights, all the knowledge sharing during the interactions on online forums with other lymeys… The list just goes on. I am at a point I can read my own blood panel. It is sad really as to why I ended up with so much knowledge. However, I’d rather look at it on the bright side. Understanding my blood work helps me ask the right questions to my doctors. And no this isn’t same as those people who go to WebMD and find weird diseases via the Symptom Checker and try to get their doctor to jump on board without any valid reason. This is actually being educated and understanding what is going on with my health and advocating for myself and for my health. I figured today I share some basic knowledge with you guys. Funny I say basic, because it all feels basic now. Anyhow I want to talk about white blood cells. They are very important starting point in diagnosing issues with our health.
Leukocytes and Types of Leukocytes
Leukocytes are the white blood cells and there are 5 types of white blood cells in our body. They all serve different functions but carry one common goal to protect us in order to keep us healthy:
Eosinophil is a type of white blood cell. Elevated levels of Eosinophil count in your blood is called Eosinophilia and is a good indicator that you are suffering from an illness. This is because it means your body is sending more and more white blood cells to fight off infections. Eosinophils have two distinct functions in your immune system. First, they destroy invading germs like viruses, bacteria, or parasites. Eosinophils also create an inflammatory response. Inflammation helps isolate and control the immune response at the site of an infection, but it also damages the tissue around it. Hence why Lymeys are inflamed all the time.
Simple blood panels actually check for Eosinophil count. Pay attention to your lab results and if you have a high Eosinophil count talk to your doctor and raise concerns about possible viruses, bacteria even parasites. Don’t forget biggest advocate of your health is YOU. That is why it is very important to educate yourself in this area.
Neutrophil is another type of while blood cell. Low levels of Neutrophil is also referred to as Neutropenia. Neutrophils are also called bacterial slayers, because their function is killing foreign bacteria in the body. If Neutropenia is present in your lab results, it means it is harder for your body to fight infections. It is also very important you protect your body against new infections, including avoiding consuming certain raw foods or exposure to raw meats and such.
Again please pay attention to your Neutrophil count for your own good. Insist on further testing to find the underlying causes to find the low count of neutrophils.
Basophil is also another type of white blood cells. They are the least abundant of all Leukocytes in our body, which means if your Basophil count is too high, something isn’t right. Basophils contain heparin and histamine and help with the inflammatory response. Heparin helps against blood clotting and histamine dilates blood vessels to bring resources into a site of a damage. Bottom line if your Basophil count is too high, you either have pathogens, allergens or tissue damage. Tick Borne Diseases cause tissue damage and Lymeys tend to have a lot of allergies. I would say it would be expected for your Basophil count to be high.
It is good to keep an eye on your Basophil count in my opinion to see where you stand, if you are already diagnosed with Lyme disease. It would help you see, if your medications are helping reduce the inflammatory response and help you and your doctor manage your treatment.
Monocytes are the largest blood cells. Increased levels of Monocytes is also referred to as Monocytosis. Monocytosis indicates chronic infections. Go figure, right? 😀 They are involved with cleaning up at the end of an inflammatory response, kind of like a vacuum cleaner. Macrophages (that’s what Monocytes are called when they leave the blood) work with lymphocytes as antigen presenting cells. Meaning they present a piece of the pathogen to the T cells (a type of Lymphocytes).
Lymphocytes are a special type of white blood cell that are capable of cell division in lymphatic organs and tissues in response to specific infections in the body. They are the last step in the immune system and allow for long-term resistance to infections the body has seen before. High count of Lymphocytes is called Lymphocytosis. Lymphocytes come in two shapes: T lymphocytes (aka T cells) and B lymphocytes (aka B cells). I will explain how the T and B cells work another day – especially in Lymeys.
To put it simply us Lymeys definitely have Lymphocytosis and our body overall is in overdrive trying to kill infections. That is why we are always swollen. Also, our immune system is so vulnerable and compromised. We have to be extra careful and try not to expose ourselves even to simple viruses and infections. We have to stay away from allergens as well.
Little bit of knowledge goes a long way in giving us clues about our health. I tried to keep the subject as simple as possible. I hope I accomplished my goal. I also hope I didn’t make any mistakes. If I did, remember I am just a patient and not a doctor. Leave a comment and I will make the necessary corrections.