Can you have too much blood in your body?

2 answers | Last updated: Oct 14, 2016
Latoria asked...

My dad is having problems with keeping food down and went to the emergency room. He was told he has a low white blood cell count; I was studying nursing about three years ago and that meant to me a form of cancer even if they can't detect it yet. The doctors also told him he has too much blood in his body, which is something I have never heard of before. I am very concerned for him but the doctors are not telling him anything. They are sending him to a liver doctor. I am wanting to know if can you have too much blood in your body and if your liver has anything to do with it.

Expert Answers

Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

Reading through your letter, it sounds like there are two issues going on here. First is the blood counts problems: the low white count, and the high red count. Low white blood cells are usually caused by cancers, severe bacterial or viral infections, or immune disorders (like HIV/AIDS or lupus). A high red cells count is caused by a disorder called polycythemia vera. This is a genetic condition that causes the bone marrow to produce too many blood cells, so it is not caused by a liver problem. This disorder sometimes causes high white counts too, so I am not sure why your father's count is low.

The second issue is that you don't know what is going on with your father's health. This may be because your father is still being "worked up", which means they are still exploring what is causing his problems. You did mention he was having problems with vomiting, so the referral to the liver specialist may be for that. Or perhaps, when doing tests, the doctors found an abnormality with his liver. What I would recommend would be to have a "family meeting" with you, your father, and the doctors, so that you can talk about what the doctors know so far. Perhaps that will help you know where your father stands with his health issues. Good luck!

Community Answers

Pm idahosa answered...

May be the doctor is keeping something from your father that may be the reason why the doctor ask him to go to the liver doctor.