If you have not been feeling right lately, your doctor might suggest running a complete blood count (CBC) test. This is a standard type of test that requires drawing blood and testing it. When the doctor receives the results, he or she will discuss them with you. This standard test can reveal if your levels are good, but it can also reveal when levels are off. Here are three main things your doctor will look at with the results of your CBC, and some reasons your levels might be off.
Red Blood Cell Count
One key component of a CBC is a count of your red blood cells. Red blood cells are important in your body, because they indicate how well your body transports oxygen to all your body parts. An average male should have a red blood cell count of 5 to 6 million cells/mcL (microliter), while a female should have a count of 4 to 5 million.
If your red blood cell count is too high, it can mean there are problems with the way oxygen is transported through your body. This can be due to smoking or dehydration, or it can indicate heart disease or another type of health condition. If your red blood cell count is too low, it can indicate that you have anemia, leukemia, or a nutritional deficiency.
If your doctor is concerned with your red blood cell count level, he or she may recommend further testing to determine what is causing this to happen.
White Blood Cell Count
While blood cell count is another important level tested in a CBC. A normal level is anywhere between 4,500 to 10,000 cells/mcL. If your white blood cell count is within this range, it will be considered normal. White blood cells are important in your body, because they are part of your body's defense system. In other words, your white blood cells indicate how well your immune system is working.
One of the most common reasons for a high white blood cell count is infection. If your body is fighting an infection, it will produce more white blood cells to fight it off. High white blood cell counts can also be a result of inflammation within the body or leukemia. When white blood cell counts are low, it can indicate bone marrow problems, lymphoma, or HIV.
The third important part of a CBC is a platelet count. Platelets are the smallest cells you have in your blood, and a normal range is anywhere from 150,000 to 450,000 cells/mcL. The platelets in your blood are essential for blood clotting, and an off-count can indicate problems.
When the platelet count in your body is too high, it could mean that you have bone marrow problems, or it could indicate a problem such as cancer or anemia. When the count is too high, you might be at risk for developing blood clots, and your doctor will want to evaluate your health condition further if your count is too high.
When the platelet count is too low, your doctor may also be concerned. A low platelet level can be a result of medications you take, or it can be caused by cancer or kidney infections.
Blood tests are great for detecting problems; however, they do not tell you what exactly is wrong with you. They will only tell you if your blood count cell levels are off. If you are interested in learning more about your health, contact a medical clinic like Summit View Clinic and ask if you can schedule a CBC test. This could help you find out if you have any health problems that need to be addressed and treated.