How to Read and Understand Complete Blood Count (CBC)?
Have you ever wondered what the numbers and complicated words on your blood tests mean? In this video, we will discuss the complete blood count, a test that provides information about the types and amounts of different blood cells in the blood. We will talk about the role of red blood cells, white blood cells, and other types of blood cells and how changes in their levels can affect the body.
CBC or complete blood count. It is a panel to test for the functional status of your bone marrow to generate different types of normal blood cells. These include red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. They all have essential jobs to do in the body to keep us alive and healthy.
Abnormally high or low counts may indicate the presence of different disorders, including some serious ones, such as anemia, abnormalities in the immune system and the clotting mechanisms, and even leukemia. It is done before any surgical operations and during chemotherapy for cancer treatment.
RBC or red blood cell count. The normal range is 4.14 to 5.8 million per microliter. Red blood cells carry and transport oxygen to all the cells in your body to make energy. A low count can indicate anemia with a symptom of chronic fatigue.
Hematocrit. Hematocrit can also be used to indicate the amount of red blood cells. The normal hematocrit level is 37.5 to 51%. It is the red blood cell fraction of the whole blood.
Hemoglobin. Hemoglobin binds oxygen in the red blood cell and is another parameter that is used to test for the quality and quantity of red blood cells. Normal hemoglobin levels are 12.6 to 17.7 grams per deciliter.
Iron. Iron is the part of the hemoglobin molecule in the red blood cells that bind oxygen. Red blood cells carry and transport oxygen to all cells of your body to make energy. Iron deficiency is the most common cause of anemia.
White blood cell count. The normal range is 3.8 to 10.8 thousand per microliter. They include the immune cells that make up your immune system to protect you against disease-causing germs. A low count can make you more susceptible to infections. A high count can suggest ongoing infection, allergic reaction, or even leukemia. In this case, further tests will be done to identify the cause.
Platelet count. The normal range is 140 to 415 million per deciliter. The level changes quickly. Platelets are essential for blood clotting. A low level can result in abnormal bleeding with observable symptoms of abnormal bruises.
Differential count of blood cells. This test identifies and characterizes the various types of blood cells done under the microscope. A change in the distribution of various cell types or the presence of abnormal-looking cells helps the diagnosis of certain disease states, such as infection, anemia, allergy, and leukemia or blood cancer among others. It may also be used to see if treatment for any of these conditions is working.
A normal white blood cell differential is as follows. Neutrophils, they make up the bulk of the white blood cell population. The normal range is 40 to 60%. They are the first responders to infection or inflammation. Lymphocytes, they are the backbone of your immune system. The normal range is 20 to 40%. Monocytes, they are an important component of your immune system. The normal range is 4 to 8% eosinophils; they are associated with allergy. The normal range is 1 to 4%.
There are many other tests that can screen for health or disease of other parts of your body. They can be done when called for or when deemed useful. Discuss it with your doctor.
To recap, a blood test is an extremely useful and convenient tool to give you a good idea of the general state of your health. It will provide you with early warnings of potential disease and disorders so that they can be treated more effectively at an earlier stage of the sickness. It is important for you to have a comprehensive blood test done to get normal base sign values for future reference. Repeat the test regularly to track the trend of any changes. Discuss the frequency of specific tests with your healthcare provider.
Understanding your blood tests and tracking the changes regularly will help you to maintain your health and to detect or treat diseases early. It is your body, and therefore, your responsibility to take care of it.