What do they mean, and how are they tested?
Blood is a vital fluid that carries oxygen and nutrients to all cells in our body. It helps fight infections and heal wounds. Blood is made up of different types of cells. A complete blood count (CBC) is a standard blood test that measures the number and quality of these cells.
A CBC can help diagnose various conditions, such as anemia, infection, leukemia, and blood disorders. It can also check your overall health and monitor your response to specific treatments.
A CBC includes the following components:
Red blood cell count (RBC): is the number of red blood cells in a microliter (mcL). Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, a protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body.
Hemoglobin (Hb or Hgb): This is the amount of hemoglobin in a deciliter (dL) of blood. Hemoglobin gives blood its red color and determines how well oxygen is delivered to the tissues.
Hematocrit (Hct): This is the percentage of blood volume occupied by red blood cells. It reflects the size and number of red blood cells.
Mean corpuscular volume (MCV): This is the average size of red blood cells in a blood sample. It is calculated by dividing the hematocrit by the RBC count.
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH): This is the average amount of hemoglobin in each red blood cell. It is calculated by dividing the hemoglobin by the RBC count.
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC): This is the average hemoglobin concentration in each volume of red blood cells. It is calculated by dividing the hemoglobin by the hematocrit.
White blood cell count (WBC): This is the number of white blood cells in a microliter (mcL) of blood. White blood cells are part of the immune system and help fight infections and diseases. Different types of white blood cells exist, such as neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils.
White blood cell differential: This is the percentage of each type of white blood cell in a blood sample. It can help identify the cause and severity of an infection or inflammation.
Platelet count (PLT): This is the number of platelets in a blood microliter (mcL). Platelets are small fragments of cells that help with blood clotting and prevent bleeding.
Abnormal blood counts can indicate various health problems, depending on which component is affected and whether it is too high or too low.
A complete blood count (FBC) is a standard blood test that measures the number and size of each type of blood cell. It also checks the amount of hemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen in red blood cells. The FBC can help diagnose and monitor many conditions, such as anemia, infection, inflammation, bleeding disorders, and blood cancers.