Complete Blood Picture

Posted September 30, 2022 by Anusha ‐ 3 min read

A complete blood count (CBC) is a blood test. It helps healthcare providers detect a range of disorders and conditions. It also checks your blood for signs of medication side effects. Providers use this test to screen for diseases and adjust treatments.

When is a CBC performed?

You may need a CBC if you have symptoms such as:

  • Bruising or bleeding.

  • Fatigue, dizziness or weakness.

  • Fever, nausea and vomiting.

  • Inflammation (swelling and irritation) anywhere in the body.

  • Joint pain.

  • Problems with heart rate or blood pressure.

Why do healthcare providers suggests CBCs?

CBCs are an important part of a yearly physical exam. Providers also order CBCs to monitor the side effects of some prescription medications.

Your provider may order a CBC to:

  • Detect abnormalities in your blood that may be signs of disease.

  • Diagnose or monitor many different disorders, conditions and infections.

  • Evaluate your overall health.

  • Rule out conditions, disorders and disease.

  • Monitor various blood diseases.

What does a CBC look for?

A CBC does many tests to measure and study red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. White blood cells are part of your immune system. They help your body fight infection. Platelets help your body clot.

A CBC measures, counts, evaluates and studies many aspects of your blood:

  • CBC without differential counts the total number of white blood cells.

  • CBC with differential. There are five kinds of white blood cells. The differential looks at how many of each kind of white blood cell you have.

  • Hemoglobin tests measure hemoglobin, the protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen.

  • Hematocrit describes the concentration of red blood cells in your blood.

What does a CBC detect?

A CBC blood test can help your provider diagnose a wide range of conditions, disorders, diseases and infections, including:

  • Anemia (when there aren’t enough red blood cells to carry oxygen through the body).

  • Bone marrow disorders, such as myelodysplastic syndromes.

  • Disorders such as agranulocytosis and thalassemias and sickle cell anemia.

  • Infections or other problems that cause abnormally low white blood cell count or high white blood cell count.

  • Several types of cancer, including leukemia and lymphoma.

  • Side effects of chemotherapy and some prescription medications.

  • Vitamin and mineral deficiencies.

Benefits of CBP

  • A CBC gives your provider a picture of your overall health.

  • Using a small amount of blood, a CBC can help detect hundreds of conditions, disorders and infections.

  • It allows your provider to monitor your health, screen for disease and plan and adjust treatment.

Risks of CBP

  • A CBC is a safe, common test.

  • There are no risks involved, and your provider only removes a small amount of blood.

  • Rarely, some people feel a little faint or lightheaded after a CBC.

Normal Range of CBP

Hemoglobin normal range:

  • Male (ages 15+): 13.0 - 17.0 g/dL

  • Female (ages 15+): 11.5 - 15.5 g/dL

Hematocrit normal range:

  • Male: 40 - 55%

  • Female: 36 - 48%

Platelet Count normal range:

  • Adult: 150,000 - 400,000/mL

White blood cell (WBC) normal range:

  • Adult: 5,000-10,000/mL
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