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CBC (Complete Blood Count)

About the test
What is this test done for?
Complete Blood Count is the most common blood test done to evaluate overall health. It is the basic screening test done to assess various components: Red blood cells, white blood cells, hemoglobin and platelets.
Why is it Done?
A CBC helps us to estimate the hemoglobin levels and hematocrit, percentage of red blood cells to diagnose various types of anemia. If there is any small infection or even major like cancers, then there will be a drastic change in the White Blood Cell count in CBC. Platelets help the blood to clot in in cases of injury and can be assessed in a CBC.
When should it be performed?
  • CBC is performed when there are unexplained symptoms. It is the commonest screening test and almost always performed with any other special blood tests. It is also done as a first screening for any health problems. Symptoms which will lead to take this test are:
    • Weakness
    • Fever
    • Redness
    • Swelling
    • Bruising
    • Bleeding
  • This test is also performed to monitor treatment.
  • As part of routine healthcare checkups
  • Prior to surgery, for assessing fitness
  • To detect conditions relating to any body system
How is it done
A blood sample will be collected from a vein in your name. Fasting is not necessary
Normal values :-
  • Red blood cell count
    • Male: 4.32-5.72 million cells/mcL
    • Female: 3.90-5.03 million cells/mcL
  • Hemoglobin
    • Male: 13.5-17.5 grams/dL
    • Female: 12.0-15.5 grams/dL
  • Haematocrit
    • Male: 38.8-50.0 percent
    • Female: 34.9-44.5 percent
  • White blood cell count: 3,500-10,500 cells/mcL
  • Platelet count: 150,000 to 450,000/mcL
  • RBCs- If the red blood cell count, hemoglobin or haemocrit is higher, it could be probably polycythemia vera or heart disease. If red blood cells, hemoglobin and haematocrit are below normal levels then it is suggestive of anemia.
  • WBCs- Any inflammation or infection can lead cause white blood cell count to increase in the body e.g. any cancer, urinary tract infection, pneumonia, etc. White blood count decreases in autoimmune conditions, bone marrow disorders or even in cancer. Certain medications are also responsible to reduce the white blood cell count.
  • Platelets- If the platelet count is high then it suggests an underlying disease or effect of certain medications. If the platelet count is low, then other tests to diagnose the underlying condition will be required. e.g. liver cirrhosis, dengue, etc.<br/>
Other Tests
Depending on the above counts, various other tests would be needed to make the diagnosis. For example, if red blood cell count is high a heart condition is suspected then an electrocardiograph might be needed to confirm it. If the platelet counts drop, then Dengue IgM is performed or a Peripheral smear for malarial parasite is ordered.
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