COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT (CBC)
A complete blood count (CBC) is a blood test used to evaluate your overall health and detect a wide range of disorders, including anemia, infection and leukemia.
A COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT TEST MEASURES SEVERAL COMPONENTS AND FEATURES OF YOUR BLOOD, INCLUDING:
- Red blood cells, which carry oxygen
- White blood cells, which fight infection
- Hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells
- Hematocrit, the proportion of red blood cells to the fluid component, or plasma, in your blood
- Platelets, which help with blood clotting
Abnormal increases or decreases in cell counts as revealed in a complete blood count may indicate that you have an underlying medical condition that calls for further evaluation.
WHAT ARE THE COMPONENTS OF THE COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT (CBC)?
The complete blood count, or CBC, lists a number of many important values. Typically, it includes the following:
- White blood cell count (WBC or leukocyte count)
- WBC differential count
- Red blood cell count (RBC or erythrocyte count)
- Hematocrit (Hct)
- Hemoglobin (Hbg)
- Mean corpuscular volume (MCV)
- Mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH)
- Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC)
- Red cell distribution width (RDW)
- Platelet count
- Mean Platelet Volume (MPV)
WHY YOU MAY NEED A COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT?
A complete blood count (CBC) is a common blood test that your doctor may recommend for the following reasons:
- To help diagnose some blood cancers, such as leukemia and lymphoma
- Find out if cancer has spread to the bone marrow
- Determine how a person’s body is handling cancer treatment
- To diagnose other, noncancerous conditions
If you are receiving chemotherapy, your doctor will likely monitor your blood cell counts often using CBCs.
WHAT A COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT MEASURES?
A CBC MEASURES THE AMOUNT OF THREE TYPES OF CELLS IN YOUR BLOOD:
- White blood cell count. A white blood cell count, also called a leukocyte count, measures the total number of white blood cells in a sample of blood. These cells protect the body from infection by attacking invading bacteria, viruses, and other foreign materials in the body. Some white blood cells can also attack cancer cells.
- White blood cell differential. A white blood cell differential is a test that measures the number of each type of white blood cell. There are five major types of white blood cells, and each type plays a different role in protecting the body. Your doctor can learn valuable information about your health by measuring the levels of these cells.
- Red blood cell count. Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body. A red blood cell count, also called an erythrocyte count, measures the number of red blood cells in a sample of blood. There are several ways to measure red blood cells. Two of the most common are:Platelet count. A platelet count measures the number of platelets in a sample of blood. Platelets help to stop bleeding by forming blood clots.
- Hematocrit (Hct), the percentage of your blood that is made up of red blood cells
- Hemoglobin (Hgb), the amount of the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen
The amounts of each of these types of cells have a normal range. Your health care team will note this range on your CBC lab results. A range is used instead of a specific number because a normal amount is different for each person.