I have been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy



Question:

I have been diagnosed with peripheral neuropathy and my neurologist ordered some blood work to see if there is any cause for my neuropathy. He said there is nothing in my test that shows the cause of my neuropathy. However I see that a couple of my white blood cell counts are high. Is this any cause for concern? Thanks.

Answer:

Hi,

High white blood cell count is of course a matter of concern. This indicates there is some other underlying problem. Although the problem may NOT be related to the peripheral neuropathy or causing it.  High white cell count usually indicates your immune system is working to fight off an infection. This could be one of many things. On the other hand, finding the cause of the high count may establish some kind of link to your condition.

It would be a good idea you send us your lab results (your pdf attachment was empty). You should also consult with your primary care physician for a complete check up to try to identify the problem causing the high count.

Below is a more comprehensive answer.

There are many causes of peripheral neuropathy, including diabetes, chemo-induced neuropathy, hereditary disorders, inflammatory infections, auto-immune diseases, protein abnormalities, exposure to toxic chemicals (toxic neuropathy), poor nutrition, kidney failure, chronic alcoholism, and certain medications – especially those used to treat cancer and HIV/AIDS. In some cases, however, even with extensive evaluation, the causes of peripheral neuropathy in some people remain unknown – this is called idiopathic neuropathy.

Other test that can be done to determine the cause of your high white blood cell count are:

  • Bacterial infection: a culture of the affected area (e.g.,urine culture, sputum culture, blood culture), strep test
  • Viral infection: tests for mononucleosis, Epstein-Barr virus
  • Inflammation: CRP (preferred),ESR
  • Autoimmune diseases: ANA
  • Allergies: Alllergy tests
  • Leukemia: B

Dr. John Claude