The complete blood count

The complete blood count (CBC)

What is CBC?

CBC stands for- complete blood count. This is a group of tests that evaluate the blood components, including

  1. Red blood cells (RBCs),
  2. white blood cells (WBCs), and
  3. platelets (PLTs).

The CBC can evaluate your overall health and detect various diseases and conditions, such as infections, anemia, and leukemia.

Blood cells and disorders

Red Blood Cells or RBC.

Red blood cells contain hemoglobin. Hemoglobin transports oxygen throughout the body. In anemia, you have fewer RBCs and thus less hemoglobin, count. An anemic person feels tired as the body gets insufficient oxygen.

White Blood Cells or WBCs.

White blood cells are an essential part of the body’s natural defense system, or immune system. There are five different types of WBCs: neutrophils, lymphocytes, basophils, eosinophils, and monocytes. WBCs protect against infections and also have a role in inflammation and allergic reactions. For example, if you have a viral or bacterial infection, the body producers higher WBCs to fight the infection.

In the case of leukemia, abnormal white cells may rapidly multiply.

Platelets or thrombocytes.

Platelets are essential for normal blood clotting. It helps stop bleeding in case of an injury. There is a risk of excessive bleeding if platelets are less in number. In contrast, a higher platelet number can cause excessive clotting. 

What is included in a CBC?

A standard CBC includes:

  1. Red blood cell (RBC) count.          
  2. Hemoglobin measures. 
  3. Hematocrit measures. 
  4. MCV-Mean corpuscular volume. 
  5. MCH-Mean corpuscular hemoglobin. 
  6. MCHC-Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration. 
  7. Red cell distribution width. 
  8. White blood cell (WBC) count 
  9. the number of neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils.
  10. Platelet count. 
  11. Mean platelet volume. 
  12. Platelet distribution width.

A CBC may be useful for

  1. Screening a wide range of conditions and diseases, such as anemia, infection, inflammation, bleeding disorder, or leukemia.
  2. Monitoring the effectiveness of treatment.
  3. Monitoring treatments such as radiation therapy or chemotherapy.

What diseases can CBC detect?

A CBC can help detect many conditions, like:

  • Nutritional deficiencies of iron, B-12, or folate.
  • Anemia.
  • Autoimmune disorders.
  • Bone marrow disorders.
  • Dehydration.
  • Infections.
  • Inflammation.
  • Hemoglobin abnormalities.
  • Leukemia.
  • Low platelets.
  • Lymphoma.
  • Thalassemia
  • Cancer that has spread to the bone marrow.


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