CBC is a blood test and stands for Complete Blood Count. It’s usually part of a routine checkup and helps detect infections, immune system related disease, blood cancer and other disorders.
The test measures & accounts for the following
- Red blood cells (RBC) help deliver oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body. A low count of red blood cells points to anemia.
- White blood cells are part of the body’s defense mechanism and help your body fight germs. A high count of white blood cells usually points to an infection and a low count can be caused by medication or a viral infection.
- Platelets are responsible for blood clots and stop bleeding. A deficiency of vitamin B12 can cause a low platelet count.
- Hemoglobin is the protein in the RBC which carries oxygen in the body.
- Hematocrit refers to the number of RBC. Lack of iron in your diet can cause its number to dip and a high score can mean dehydration
- Mean corpuscular volume establishes the size of red blood cells
You should have CBC if you have any of these symptoms:
- Dizziness and/or fatigue
- Inflammation in the body
- Fever which doesn’t go away
- Heart rate abnormalities
There are usually no risks to the test, and it requires no preparation on your part.
There are several reasons why your levels have been out of the normal range for example.
- Irregular levels of red blood cells, hemoglobin, or hematocrit are usually a sign of anemia, heart disease, or less iron in your body.
- Low white cell count usually points to an autoimmune disorder, bone marrow disorder, or cancer in some cases.
- The high white cell count is usually caused due to an infection and even some medicines.
It is important to keep in mind that if any of the levels are not in the normal range , then it doesn’t necessarily mean that you have a medical condition that needs treatment.
CBC results can be affected by diet, your activity level any medications, a menstrual period, dehydration and multiple other factors.