Complete Blood Count (CBC)

What is a Complete Blood Count (CBC) test?

A Complete Blood Test (CBC) is a blood test that is done in order to check entire health and determine any type of disorder. It also counts the red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs) and platelets. Your doctor or health care provider is likely to order a CBC test to check for anemia, see your blood condition and how medications are affecting your blood and determine if you have any other health issue that explains symptoms like weakness, fever and nausea.

Additionally, a CBC test also provides information on these:

  • Average red blood cell size (MCV)
  • The total amount of hemoglobin
  • Fraction of blood made up of red blood cells (hematocrit)

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What does a CBC test detect and what does the test result mean?

Complete Blood Count (CBC) AKA full blood count or blood cell count is used to detect a number of health issues that include:

Red Blood Cell (RBC):- Red Blood Cells transport oxygen throughout your body and also help carry carbon dioxide. Hence, if your RBC count is not high enough or low, that means you have a health condition like Anemia or any other heart disease.
White Blood Cell (WBC):- White Blood Cells also known as leukocytes protect from infections. They circulate in your body and fight any type of injuries and illnesses. Therefore, if your white blood cell count is low, it means you are at risk of infection, immune disorders, bone marrow disorders and cancer. While the higher count of white blood cells may be a sign of reaction to any medicine and infection.
Blood cancer:- A CBC test also detects if you have blood cancers.
Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH):- It tells the average amount of hemoglobin in each of your red blood cells. The abnormal MCH blood test readings mean blood loss and iron deficiency.
Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration (MCHC):- It checks the average amount of hemoglobin in a certain amount of red blood cells.
Red Cell Distribution Width (RDW):- It determines the size of each red blood cell.
Platelet Distribution Width (PDW):- It shows how much the size of your platelets varies.
White Blood Cell Differential:- There are various types of white blood cells in your body. This test determines how many of each kind of white blood cell you have.

However, every type of test that is abnormal doesn’t always mean that you are diagnosed with a serious health condition that needs to be treated. Because many day-to-day activities such as exercise, diet, medicines, menstruation, pregnancy, eating habits, not drinking an adequate amount of water and many other factors can affect your test results. Hence, to understand the exact meaning of your results, talk to your doctor.