What is a Complete Blood Count (CBC) Blood Test?
The complete blood count test is a type of blood work that calculates the blood's cellular elements, thereby detecting a wide array of disorders and medical conditions such as leukemia, infection, and anemia. The blood is majorly made up of white blood cells (which fight infection), red blood cells (which transport oxygen), Hemoglobin (which is the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells), and platelets (which help in blood clotting).
A CBC test is carried out by specialized machines which measure and analyze their concentration in less than a minute. This test is also conducted as a measure of side effects caused by any medications or for the general monitoring of an individual's overall health.
When is a CBC Test conducted?
A medical specialist may prescribe a CBC test in case of specific symptoms for a better insight into a patient's medical condition. Such symptoms include bleeding, bruising, unexplained weakness or dizziness, fatigue, joint pain, fluctuating heart rate or blood pressure, inflammation or irritation anywhere on the body, nausea, vomiting, and fever. A CBC test can draw out possible medical complications by analyzing an individual's blood elements, which significantly aids in diagnosis.
What is the Normal CBC Range?
The normal CBC range differs in men and women in most cases and is as follows.
Red Blood Cells:
- Men: 4.35-5.65 trillion cells/L
- Women: 3.92-5.13 trillion cells/L
- White Blood Cell Count: 3.4-9.6 billion cells/L
- Men: 13.2-16.6 grams/dL (where dL stands for deciliter)
- Women: 11.6-15 grams/dL
- Men: 135-317 billion/L
- Women: 157-371 billion/L
How much does a CBC Test Cost?
CBC is not a costly procedure if a patient has proper insurance. However, its price can vary from anywhere between $10.00 to $2,700, depending upon the kind of insurance an individual has. In case of no insurance, the average cost estimate for a complete blood count test lies around $140 - $622 but is prone to change.
Why is a CBC Test conducted?
A CBC test may be conducted for various reasons, some of which are discussed below.
1. For the Diagnosis of a Medical Condition
A CBC test is used to diagnose various medical ailments that are hinted at in the blood count of an individual. Blood counts higher or lower than their average values indicate different diseases. A low white blood cell count, known as leukopenia, may signify complications in the bone marrow of an individual or any other reactions triggered by certain medications. In contrast, a high white blood cell count may indicate infection at any site in the body, resulting in an augmented need for resistance-creating and combating cells. It may also indicate an underlying malignancy.
Similarly, a low red blood count or low Hemoglobin may hint at anemia. A higher than the standard number of red blood cells may suggest hypoxia (low oxygen level in blood) or diseases in the bone marrow. Low platelet count (thrombocytopenia) may be an indicator of prolonged bleeding or bone marrow complications. A higher than average platelet count (thrombocytosis) may insinuate severe inflammation.
2. Evaluation of the Overall Health of a patient
A CBC test is typically conducted for better insight into any vague and uncategorized symptoms. However, it may also be undertaken in response to other medical conditions or treatments or to analyze an individual's overall health.
What to Expect in a CBC Blood Test and How to Prepare for it
A CBC blood test is a relatively simple procedure that only includes drawing out a sample of blood. No preparation is required: an individual can eat, drink, and partake in daily life activities before and after the test unless advised otherwise by a doctor.
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