If you're due for a CBC blood test, you'll need to know how to read and interpret the results. CBC blood tests are measured by an automated blood cell counter and can be useful for indicating specific health concerns. The following values are measured through a CBC blood test:
RBC or Red Blood Cell Count
Your red blood cells transport oxygen to your body tissues and carbon dioxide out to your lungs. It's important to have a healthy red blood cell count for overall health.
Healthy RBC Ranges
WBC or White Blood Cell Count
Your white blood cells help you fight off infections through several functions, including the production of antibodies. A high white blood cell count can indicate an infection is present in the body.
Healthy WBC Range for Adults: 3.8-10.8 thous/mcl
HCT or Hematocrit
This number is the percentage of red blood cells found in your whole blood. If you have too few red blood cells, you may be dealing with anemia. If you have too many red blood cells, your doctor may investigate the possibility of polycythemia, dehydration or over-hydration.
Healthy HCT Ranges
HGB or Hemoglobin
Hemoglobin is responsible for transportation of oxygen and carbon dioxide. Decreased HGB levels may indicate anemia, whereas increased HGB levels may indicate dehydration, inadequate nutrition or polycythemia.
Healthy HGB Levels
MCH or Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin
This measurement concerns how much the hemoglobin in a red blood cell weighs. Both a high and a low measurement of MCH can indicate issues related to anemia.
Healthy Adult MCH Levels: 27-33
Platelets prevent serious bleeding problems by coagulating the blood. If you have too few platelets, you may be experiencing immunity issues, a deficiency in B12 or folic acid, or a problematic reaction to a drug. If you have too high of a platelet count, you may be dehydrated or have a condition which has stimulated the marrow in your bones, which is where platelets are produced.
Healthy Adult Platelet Count: 130-400 thou/mcl
Lipid panel blood tests help physicians determine the levels of cholesterol in your bloodstream. Learn how these tests can give you the upper hand in preventing heart disease.
Need to learn how to read blood test results? Check out this list of common blood tests, interpretations of the abbreviations used and a general measurement range.
It can be tough to interpret blood test abbreviations, but this glossary can help you figure out what your tests are for and what the abbreviations mean.