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Understanding the CBC Blood Test Panel

Complete blood count (CBC) is a test included in routine health checks. This test gives an overall view of one’s health status. Numerous disorders can be detected using your CBC report. Three important cellular components of blood (i.e.) Red Blood Cells (RBC), White Blood Cells (WBC) and Platelets are assessed.

Reasons to perform CBC

  • To assess your overall health
  • To diagnose various diseases and disorders related to blood
  • To monitor these disorders and the treatment for the same

Red Blood Cells

Parameters tested

  1. RBC Count
  2. Hemoglobin (Hb)
  3. Hematocrit (HCT)
  4. Mean corpuscular volume (MCV)
  5. Mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH)
  6. Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC)
  7. Red cell distribution width (RDW)

Uses of testing

RBC parameters are mainly used to diagnose anemia (lower than normal) and polycythemia (higher than normal). In addition to diagnosing anemia the cause can also be determined using these parameters. These causes include low levels of iron, certain vitamins, blood loss and hereditary and genetic conditions (passed through generations).

White Blood Cells

Parameters tested

  1. Total WBC Count
  2. Differential Count
  3. Absolute counts

Uses of testing

Leukopenia means low WBC count and leukocytosis means high WBC count. Low counts as well as high counts can be caused by infections, bone marrow disorders, cancers, medications, and immune disorders. Looking into the differential count and knowing which type of WBC is elevated will give a clue to the diagnosis but for a confirmatory report usually peripheral smear examination is necessary.


Parameters tested

  1. Platelet count
  2. Mean platelet volume (MPV)
  3. Platelet distribution width (PDW)

Uses of testing

When a platelet count is lower than normal it is thrombocytopenia and when it is higher than normal it is thrombocytosis. The most common causes for these conditions also include malignancy, infections, bone marrow failures and immune. The other parameters help provide clues to the diagnosis.

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