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What Is Complete Blood Count?

2017-11-17 16:27

The complete blood count (CBC) is a common blood test that evaluates the three major types of cells in the blood: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. These tests are conducted by hematology analyzer.

A CBC may be ordered as part of a routine checkup, or if your child is feeling more tired than usual, seems to have an infection, or has unexplained bruising or bleeding.

Red blood cells: The CBC's measurements of red blood cell (RBC) count, hemoglobin (the oxygen-carrying protein in RBCs), and mean (red) cell volume (MCV) provides information about the RBCs, which carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. These measurements are usually done to test for anemia, a common condition that occurs when the body has insufficient red blood cells.

White blood cells: The white blood cell (WBC) count measures the number of WBCs (also called leukocytes) in the blood. The WBC differential test measures the relative numbers of the different kinds of WBCs in the blood. WBCs, which help the body fight infection, are bigger than red blood cells and there are far fewer of them in the bloodstream. An abnormal WBC count may indicate an infection, inflammation, or other stress in the body. For example, a bacterial infection can cause the WBC count to increase, or decrease, dramatically.

Platelets: The smallest blood cells, platelets play an important role in blood clotting and the prevention of bleeding. When a blood vessel is damaged or cut, platelets clump together and plug the hole until the blood clots. If the platelet count is too low, a person can be in danger of bleeding in any part of the body.

The CBC can also test for loss of blood, abnormalities in the production or destruction of blood cells, acute and chronic infections, allergies, and problems with blood clotting.

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