Complete Blood Count

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Doctors use many tests to diagnose cancer. They also conduct tests to learn if cancer has spread to another part of the body. For most types of cancer, a biopsy is the only sure way for the doctor ...

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How is it Diagnosed?

Doctors use many tests to diagnose cancer. They also conduct tests to learn if cancer has spread to another part of the body. For most types of cancer, a biopsy is the only sure way for the doctor ...

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Complete Blood Count

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The complete blood count (CBC) is a group of tests that evaluate the cells that circulate in the blood, including red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), and platelets (PLTs).

What Is a Complete Blood Count?

A complete blood count (CBC) is a test that counts the cells that make up your blood: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. If the CBC is the only blood test you’re having, you can eat and drink like you usually would.

How Is a CBC Done?

  1. White blood cells (WBCs): These help your body fight germs. If you have too many of them, it could be a sign of inflammation, infection, a medical reaction, or another health condition.
  2. Red blood cells (RBC): These deliver oxygen throughout your body. They also help carry carbon dioxide.
  3. Hemoglobin (Hb or Hgb): This is the protein in your blood that holds oxygen.
  4. Hematocrit (Hct): This test tells how much of your blood is made up of red blood cells.
  5. Mean corpuscular volume (MCV): This is the average size of your red blood cells.

CBC Results:

Each lab has different ways of studying your blood. So the reference range will depend on the lab that handles your blood tests. It’s also based on things that can affect your blood like your age, your sex, and how high above sea level you live.

In general, the reference ranges are:

  1. White blood cells: 4,500 to 11,000 cells per microliter (cells/mcL)
  2. Red blood cells: 4.5 million to 5.9 million cells/mcL for men; 4.1 million to 5.1 million cells/mcL for women
  3. Hemoglobin: 14 to 17.5 grams per deciliter (gm/dL) for men; 12.3 to 15.3 gm/dL for women
  4. Hematocrit: 41.5% to 50.4% for men; 35.9% to 44.6% for women
  5. Mean corpuscular volume: 80 to 96
  6. Platelets: 150,000 to 450,000 platelets/mcL

What Else Might My CBC Tell Me?

Your doctor might order more results to learn whether you have an illness or blood condition, including:

  1. Mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH). This test tells how much hemoglobin is in your typical red blood cell.
  2. Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC). This measures the concentration of hemoglobin in a certain amount of blood.
  3. Red cell distribution width (RDW). This shows how your much your red blood cells vary in size.
  4. Reticulocyte count. This test measures the number of new red blood cells in your body.
  5. Mean platelet volume (MPV). This result gives the average size of the platelets in your blood.
  6. Platelet distribution width (PDW). This shows how much your platelets vary in size.
  7. White blood cell differential. There are five types of white blood cells: basophils, eosinophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, and neutrophils. This test shows how many of each kind you have.

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