A complete blood count is a common test that most individuals are advised to take in order to ascertain the general state of their health. However, aside from your general health check-up, all medical practitioners require a complete blood count (CBC) or full blood count (FBC) report to help make their diagnosis in case of illness.
Unlike when you need to check your glucose levels, a CBC normally does not have any specific preparation instructions. However, in some cases medical professionals do advise their patients to avoid eating a heavy meal just before the test. You can get a complete blood count done at any diagnostic centre, hospital or clinic.
When Do You Need to Take a CBC?
As mentioned earlier, it can be part of a routine check-up or used to make a diagnosis. It is required to diagnose conditions such as anemia, leukemia, polycythemia, infections and some autoimmune diseases.
In case you feel unusually tired or suffer from abnormal bleeding or inflammation, it is recommended to get a CBC done. The test is also done to review a patient’s response to radiation treatment like chemotherapy as well as his response to certain drugs.
CBC Report Components
A CBC test measures blood cells like the red blood cells (erythrocite), white blood cells (leukocyte) and platelets (thrombocyte). The blood test includes the measure of hemotocrit (Hct) or packed cell volume (PCV), WBC differential and hemoglobin (Hbg), mean corpuscular volume (MCV), red cell distribution width (RDW), mean platelet volume (MPV) and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) in the bloodstream.
Understanding Your CBC Report
There are a few basic inferences that you can draw from the report by looking at the scores. For example, a reduction in RBC, hemoglobin and hemotocrit count is indicative of anemia while a significant increase in WBCs may point towards leukemia or inflammation.
Alcoholics and those who suffer from thalassemia (loosely defined as inherited blood disorders passed on from parent to child) may have abnormal mean corpuscular volume. A medical professional will be able to guide you through the report in detail and explain any abnormalities.
A complete blood count is an essential test that every individual, whether adult or child, should go through in order to ascertain their general wellness.