My lymphocyte count has been depressed for at least the last couple years. So far no cause has been discovered. The main evaluation I've had done is screening for lupus and Hughes' syndrome (various antibodies, CRP, ESR, lupus anticoagulant), which has all been negative/normal so far. I have done some testing on my own, which has turned up that my estradiol, testosterone, and DHEA-S levels are all low.
I would like to get some more information about what is going on immunologically and see there are some tests for checking levels of various Th1/Th2 cytokines and breaking down lymphocyte counts by t, b, and natural killer cells. These tests are fairly expensive and the scope of the tests that check these things seems to vary significantly, with some not covering various cytokines or other immune components. I have money but would prefer to spend it well on the best quality tests and advice.
Could anyone here suggest what type of practitioner would best be able to help with me something like this, or, failing that, what tests I would be best off ordering myself?
I am usually in the UK if that matters, but I make frequent trips to the US.
I will ask my GP, but I am unsure if he can be helpful due to the scope of his practice and knowledge and NHS testing guidelines. Based on my symptoms, I could probably get a referral to a dermatologist, rheumatologist, or possibly endocrinologist, but I imagine it will be difficult to find a practitioner interested in narrowing down what is abnormal as opposed to focusing on suppressing symptoms addressed by his or her speciality. I will also need help interpreting the results, which I imagine will require a scientifically-focused practitioner.
Thanks for any replies.
asked byNot_James (156)
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on April 01, 2012
at 04:16 AM
As far as immune system physicians go, there are several types depending on the problem: allergy/immunology, rheumatology, hematology/oncology, and some internal medicine specialists. Because you are concerned about lymphocytes, I would say the "blood doctor" or a hematologist would be the next best option for you.
Is this something you've already discussed with your GP then, seeing as you have already got some testing done? Because there is a range which is healthy, and if it reads low to you but your doctor thinks it's fine, that may be because it is within the healthy range. Not everyone is going to be identical, so a conversation about what range would be good for you could settle things before a specialist appointment. The important gauge of if your lymphocyte count is consistently low is if you get sick more often. You didn't mention your health state, but if you do think you have a decreased immunity and are vulnerable to illness and infection, than this is definitely worth pursuing.
Ordering the tests yourself will not only be pricey, but will also have to be interpreted properly, which is obviously the most important part. I know that doctors get a bad rap on these kinds of forums, but most specialists are very passionate about their field won't just "cover up the symptoms" as people like to say. I've seen quite a few specialists, and of course a few are duds as with anything, but a vast majority were very invested in getting to the root of my problems (mine were cardiac, so different, but still specialized). I mean, this is why they trained for so long- to run the tests, look at the numbers, and figure out what they mean. This is what you need, so I would go this route rather than running at it yourself and being stuck with having to interpret.