Since becoming ill over 4 years ago, I‘ve probably had over 35 blood tests ordered by doctors and specialists. Almost all of these have been standard general blood chemistry, B12 and iron tests. They inevitably come back normal every time.
I have become a bit more proactive recently and have started to request specific blood tests that interest me.
These are all of my abnormal blood tests since becoming ill with CFS. Note that not all these ‘abnormal’ blood tests have values that are outside the normal range, some are high normal or low normal.
TSH = 4.10 (range 0.50 – 5.00) 3rd October 2007
Immunoglobulins: IgA = 0.5 (range 0.7 – 3.5) 22nd April 2009
IgG = 7.6 (range 6.5 – 14.5)
IgM = 0.6 (range 0.6 – 2.6)
Human Herpes Virus type 6, IgG Antibody = 320 (range is not established) 16th September 2009
T-Cell subset: non-MHC Restricted T-cell = 223 (range 5 – 90) 1st October 2009
Natural Killer Cells = 508 (range 90 – 400) 1st October 2009
Vitamin D = 66 (range 60 – 160) 1st October 2009
I will now examine these tests more closely:
On the 21st December 2005 TSH= 2.17
On the 13th May 2006 TSH=2.92
On the 3rd October 2007 TSH = 4.10
On the 1st October 2009 TSH= 2.84
The only ‘irregular’ TSH reading I had was on the 3rd of October 2007. The doctor suggested that I take the hormone T3 and my CFS got significantly worse.
This blood test showed that I was positive to HHV6 (although most of the population is.) It also showed that I had titer levels of 320. I consider this number to be in between high and low levels. It’s not high enough to warrant me starting Valcyte yet it’s not low enough for me to completely ignore it.
I have also heard that HHV6 levels can fluctuate based on the testing method, hence if I got mine tested at 2 different labs, I may get quite statistically different numbers. A study of CFS patients with IgG titers of 320 or over found that 89% had an active HHV6 infection based on culture readings. The problem with testing for HHV6 with IgG titer levels is the uncertainty of an active HHV6 infection. The IgG titer levels can indicate that it is possible you have an active HHV6 infection but are not definite.
A good source for all information related to HHV6 is http://www.hhv-6foundation.org/
Further information relating to the different types of HHV6 tests and what they mean is http://aboutmecfs.org/Rsrch/HHV6Diagnosis.aspx
T-Cell subset: non-MHC Restricted T-cell
My reading for this test was approximately 2 ½ times higher than the maximum levels. I haven’t discussed these results with the specialist however I suspect that the high levels can possibly be attributed to me taking thymic protein A, 5mg, 3x a day for the past 2 ½ months. I don’t fully understand the meaning of this T-cell subset test however T-cells stand for ‘thymus’ cells and the ‘thymic’ protein I have been taking claims to boost T-cells. I will get this T-cell subset retested once I have been off the thymic protein A for several months, It will be interesting to see what my levels are then.
Natural killer cells
Most people with CFS have also got low killer cell numbers. This is why I was quite surprised to have high NK cell levels. Several studies have been done of NK cell numbers in relation to CFS and most of the studies show low NK cell numbers in CFS patients however one study found high levels. It is generally considered that although a CFS patient may have a moderate or high level of NK cells, the activity of those cells is impaired hence the NK cell function of fighting off infections is also impaired. One possible reason that I have high natural killer cells is the inosine I have been taking for the past few months. Some studies have shown that inosine can increase NK cell numbers. After finishing the course of inosine I will wait several months and have another NK cell blood test to determine my levels.
My vitamin D levels have been gradually dropping over the past few years. On the 1st of November 2007 they were 101 and by the 1st of October 2009 they had dropped to 66. I have been taking 150 IU of D3 per day over this period and quite recently 600 IU of D3 per day (for the past 3 months.) Despite this I do spend a considerable amount of time inside, lying in bed (23 hours a day) so I am not surprised by my borderline low vitamin D levels. Prior to coming down with CFS I had quite high vitamin D levels as I ran 60km plus a week beneath the warm Australian sun. I purchased some 2000 IU Vitamin D3 tablets last week however when I saw my GP she suggested that I take a one off 100,000 IU dose of Vitamin D3 orally. I have done this and will get my Vitamin D levels tested again in 3 weeks time.
There are many blood tests out there that I would be interested in getting done. Unfortunately most of these tests are quite obscure and are based in the US and not in Australian laboratories. The recent news of XMRV being a possible causal link to CFS has made me excited about getting this test however at the present only US laboratories are testing for it.
Here is a link to some quite basic, yet good tests recommended for those who are experiencing some degree of fatigue http://www.co-cure.org/drt9.htm