Complete Blood Count (CBC) Lab Test

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Clinical Definition of Complete Blood Count (CBC)

A complete blood count, better known as a CBC, is one of the most commonly performed blood tests. It is a calculation of all the cellular components of blood which are determined by special machines that analyze the components of the blood.

 The most important portion of the CBC is the measure of concentration of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in the blood.

A hemogram is a methodical investigation of a blood examination especially with regards to the numeric, proportional, and morphological characteristics of the cellular components of the blood. The test highlights the size, shape, special features, and numericals of the solid elements of the blood. It is a group of tests that diagnosis various components of the blood and includes : Leukocyte Count/Number of white blood cells (WBC),  Erthrocyte Count/Number of red blood cells (RBC), Hemoglobin Content (Hgb), Hematocrit (Hct), Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV), Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH), Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin concentration (MCHC), Platelet Count and Volume, Red cell Distribution Width (RDW)

When do you expect results?

24 to 36 Hours

Why Get Tested?

Your doctor may advise you to get this test done for a number of reasons. These include:

Reviewing your overall health: A CBC can be ordered as a part of routine medical examination to help monitor your overall health. It can help screen a number of disorders like leukemia or anemia.

To diagnose medical conditions: If you are experiencing certain symptoms like fever, fatigue, bleeding, etc., a CBC may help diagnose the cause of these symptoms. If your doctor suspects that you have an infection, this test may be used to confirm the diagnosis.

To monitor medical conditions: If you have already been diagnosed with a blood disorder that affects blood cell count, this test may be used to monitor the condition.

     To monitor treatments: If you are taking medication that affects your blood cell count, this test can be used to monitor your health, and the improvement.

A hemogram is ordered as a part of routine medical exam to verify and asses general health status, and to diagnose and monitor a variety of disorders such as anemia, infection and many other diseases.

Reason to take Complete Blood Count (CBC) Test

The symptoms observed are: Fatigue, Weakness, Inflammation, Bruising, Excessive bleeding, Clotting inflammation, Chest pain, Dizziness, Shortness of breath, Easy bruising, Heavy menstrual bleeding, Fever higher than 100.5F (38C), ChillsHeavy / Excessive Sweating

Preparations Needed for Complete Blood Count (CBC) Test

If your blood is to be tested for a CBC, there are no precautions that you have to take prior to the test. You can eat and drink normally before the test. In case the blood sample will also be used for other tests, you may need to follow some specific precautions, which your doctor will inform you about.


What does the test detect?

A CBC is not a definitive diagnostic test. It depends on why the test was advised to you, but results outside the normal ranges may or may not call for a follow-up test.

Some results of a CBC may indicate a problem. These are:

Red blood cell count, hemoglobin, and hematocrit: These three are related as they measure the various aspects of red blood cells. If they are low, you could have anemia, and if they are high, it could point to underlying medical conditions like heart diseases or polycythemia vera.

White blood cell count: Low white blood cell counts could be caused by medical conditions that destroy white blood cells. These include autoimmune diseases, bone marrow issues, or even cancer. Low WBC counts can also be caused by some medications. Higher than normal white blood cell counts generally point to an inflammation or infection. It could also indicate immune disorders, bone marrow disease, or reaction to medication.

      Platelet count: A lower or higher than normal platelet count is either a sign of a medical condition or can be            attributed to medication. If your platelet count is outside the normal range, you will most likely require additional        tests.

For more specifications about what your CBC results mean, you should consult with your doctor.

Sample Required?

Specimen type: EDTA (Blood Sample), 

Specimen collection procedure: Venipuncture - Collection of blood from a vein, usually from the arm.

How do you understand this result?

Reference RangeInterpretation
White blood cells (WBC)4 to 10 x 10^9/L

‘*A Reference range is a set of values which helps the healthcare professional to interpret a medical test. It may vary with age, gender, and other factors. Reference ranges may also vary between labs, in value & units depending on instruments used and method of establishment of reference ranges’