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CBC (includes Differential and Platelets)

Also Known As Complete Blood Count, CBC Blood Test, Hemogram

What is a Complete Blood Count (CBC) (includes  CBC Differential and Platelets) Test?

A complete blood count or CBC blood test measures different features and parts of your blood, including the following:

  • Red blood cells (That help carry oxygen from lungs to body parts).
  • White blood cells (That help fight infections) – A CBC with differential helps measure the number of each of the five types of white blood cells.
  • Platelets (To help your body clot and stop bleeding).
  • Hematocrit (How much of your blood is made of red blood cells).
  • Hemoglobin (Measure of protein in RBCs that carry oxygen from lungs to rest of the body).

In general, it is a panel of blood tests that evaluates your blood and any problems linked to it. It is the most commonly ordered lab test of all time that doctors use to screen for a wide range of medical conditions like anemia, bleeding disorders, inflammation, and infection.

In some cases, the Complete Blood Count or CBC (includes Differential and Platelets) may also include measurement of some chemicals and other substances in the blood. The tests give your healthcare provider the necessary information regarding your health and the risks of chronic illnesses.

What Is The Complete Blood Count (CBC) Test Used For?

It is a commonly performed blood test that most doctors perform as a part of your routine checkup. A Complete Blood Count (CBC) (includes Differential and Platelets) usually consists of the following:

Red Blood Cell Count (RBC Count) - The test measures the number of red blood cells in your blood. It also provides information about the different physical properties of RBCs:

White Blood Cell Count (WBC Count) - To measure the total number of white blood cells in the blood serum. The leukocytes or WBCs are responsible for fighting off viruses, bacteria, and other foreign particles in the body.

White Blood Cell Differential (WBC Differential) - The test analyzes if you have a normal percentage of each type of white blood cell in your body. The doctor identifies and checks for the number of five types of WBCs, including:

  • Neutrophils (Ingest microbes and release enzymes to kill them).
  • Lymphocytes (Produce antibodies and kill viruses).
  • Monocytes (Engulf and destroy foreign invaders).
  • Eosinophils (To fight off parasitic infections).
  • Basophils (To fight against inflammatory responses).

Hemoglobin – The test measures the amount of hemoglobin in your blood and helps diagnose conditions like polycythemia, anemia, and high blood pressure.

Hematocrit – CBC helps identify the percentage of total blood made of red blood cells by volume.

Reticulocyte Count – The test also measures the number of reticulocytes in the blood, i.e., the newly formed and immature blood cells.

Platelet Count – The test analyzes the number of platelets in the blood to comprehend any underlying clotting disorders.

Mean Platelet Volume (MPV) – With this test, your doctor can also acknowledge the size of platelets in your blood.

Why And When Do You Need A CBC (Includes Differential And Platelets) Test?

Your doctor or health care provider will ask for a CBC (including Differential and Platelets) to rule out your possibility of having a blood disorder. You may also need this test if you:

  • Have a blood disorder and infection.
  • Any immune system disorder.
  • Unusual bruising or bleeding in your body.
  • Inflammation.
  • Weakness and tiredness that never goes away due to anemia.

Many people undergo this test if the healthcare provider suspects any underlying disease or medical condition. It is often performed as a part of a routine checkup and can also be used to see if a certain treatment plan is working effectively or not.

What Kind Of Sample Is Required For a CBC Blood Test?

A lab technician, nurse, or healthcare provider takes a blood sample from a vein in your arm through a small needle. Once the needle is inserted into your arm, a small amount of blood is collected in a test tube or vial, which is then sent to the lab for testing.

Do You Need To Prepare For a Complete Blood Count (CBC blood ) Test?

You do not need to do anything special before going for a CBC blood test. If your doctor has asked for other tests related to the CBC, you might need to fast for at least 8-10 hours before the test. As far as your medications and supplements are concerned, only your healthcare provider can provide you with special guidelines to follow.

Are There Any Risks To CBC Blood Test?

Taking a CBC blood test involving a needle does carry a small amount of risk. It includes bruising, bleeding, infection, and dizziness.

What Do The Complete Blood Count (CBC Blood Test) Results Mean?

A CBC Blood test (including Differential and Platelets) helps count your cells and measure the level of different substances in your bloodstream. There are many reasons why the values might fall outside the normal range. It can be due to:

  • Abnormal red blood cells, hematocrit, and hemoglobin due to anemia.
  • Heart diseases.
  • Iron deficiency.
  • Low WBC count due to bone marrow disorders, autoimmune disorders, and cancer.
  • High WBC count due to reaction to a certain medicine or due to infection.

Abnormal levels are not always indicative of an underlying medical problem. Many factors, including your diet, lifestyle, and medications, may also alter your test results. It is better to talk to a doctor or physician to learn the actual interpretation of the CBC (including Differential and Platelets) test results.

Related Tests: Urinalysis Analysis, Comprehensive Metabolic Panel, Hemoglobin a1c test, ABO Blood Grouping, and RH Antibody Test.

Our clinical experts continually monitor the health and medical content posted on CURA4U, and we update our blogs and articles when new information becomes available. Last reviewed by Dr.Saad Zia on December 19th, 2023.


Complete Blood Count with Differential - Health Encyclopedia - University of Rochester Medical Center

Complete Blood Count with Differential - Health Encyclopedia - University of Rochester Medical Center

Understanding the complete blood count with differential - ScienceDirect

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