CBC – Complete Blood Count
This panel quantifies the amount and volume of red blood cells as well as the number of white blood cells and platelets. Also provides information on various types of blood and bone marrow disorders such as anemia, leukemia, and bleeding problems. This panel is composed of the following subtests:
HGB (Hemoglobin)- a pigment molecule which contains iron atoms and is responsible for giving blood its’ red color. Hemoglobin binds oxygen molecules in the lungs and then distributes them to the cells throughout the body.
HCT (Hematocrit)- a ratio of the cellular portion of blood to the fluid portion, or plasma. The plasma carries proteins, clotting factors, and many other molecules such as nutrients and metabolic waste byproducts.
RBC (Red Blood Cell) count – red blood cells contain hemoglobin and are responsible for transporting oxygen to the body tissues.
MCV, MCH, MCHC – also known as red blood cell indices. These measurements reflect the average red blood cell volume, and the concentration of hemoglobin contained in each. Abnormalities reflect abnormally large or small red blood cells and can be produced by various nutritional deficiencies and disease states.
RDW (Red Cell Distribution Width) – calculates the variation in size from the biggest red blood cell to the smallest red blood cell measured. High RDW’s are found in certain types of anemias.
WBC (White Blood Cell) count – White blood cells destroy bacterial, viral, and other infectious organisms by multiplying and engulfing the offending agents. High concentrations of WBC’s (20,000 or greater) are indicative of acute infection or leukemia; low WBC counts are seen in advanced infections and AIDS.
Platelet count – tiny cell fragments in the blood that clump together to produce a blood clot when exposed to certain molecules, damaged arterial walls, or cholesterol plaque buildup. Low platelet counts can cause bleeding disorders.