The full blood count is a cost-effective and incredibly informative test. The results of this clinical investigation point at many possible causes of health problems, offering many possible solutions. This test may determine general health status, blood disorders, improper nutrition, inflammation, cancer, exposure to toxins and many other problems. A full blood count is recommended in some countries as a part of a routine annual check-up from an early age.
Imagine that everything that allows us to breathe, move, live, protect ourselves, and feel well is being moved via blood. The contents of the blood are, initially, being tested by a full blood count. The full blood count is an easy and cost-effective, incredibly informative test. The results of this clinical investigation point at many possible causes of health problems, offering many possible solutions.
Red Blood Cells carry oxygen from the lungs to the tissues and carbon dioxide from the tissues back to the lungs. Other functions are attributed to the Red Blood Cells.
Low levels of Red Blood cells may indicate anaemia, tumours (Cancer), blood disorders, toxicity (poisoning), malnutrition, bleeding, deficiencies in Vitamin B12, Folate or Iron. This test is used in conjunction with other tests to identify any problem definitively.
High levels of Red Blood Cells may indicate some blood disorders, heart disease, tissue hypoxia, some lung diseases.
Haemoglobin is a protein found in the blood. Haemoglobin carries oxygen to the tissues.
Low levels of Haemoglobin may indicate anaemia. People who have anaemia feel tired, depressed or anxious, sleepy during the day. Low haemoglobin levels may be caused by iron deficiency; Vitamin B-12 deficiency; Folate deficiency; Bleeding; Cancers that affect the bone marrow, such as leukemia; Kidney disease; Liver disease; Hypothyroidism, Thalassemia — a genetic disorder that causes low levels of hemoglobin and red blood cells.
High levels of Haemoglobin may be caused by Polycythemia vera — a blood disorder in which your bone marrow makes too many red blood cells; Lung disease; Dehydration; Living at a high altitude; Heavy smoking; Burns; Excessive vomiting; Extreme physical exercise.
Haematocrit is the ratio of red blood cells to the total volume of blood.
Low levels of Haematocrit means that there are not enough red blood cells to the total volume of blood. The symptoms people experience are: Tiredness; Lack of concentration; Shortness of breath; Headaches; Heavy menstrual cycles, Grumpiness.
High levels of Haematocrit means that there are too many red blood cells to the total volume of blood. The symptoms people experience are: Tiredness; Shortness of breath; Flushed skin; Sweating; Dizziness; Joint pain; Itching; Headaches.
Mean cell volume (MCV) is a measurement of the average size of your Red Blood Cells.
Low value of MCV means that red blood cells are smaller than they should be. That may indicate iron deficiency or thalassemia.
High value of MCV means that red blood cells are bigger than they should be. That may indicate Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Mean cell haemoglobin (MCH) shows the average amount of oxygen-carrying haemoglobin in a red blood cell. MCH is mirroring MCV and is interpreted in conjunction with this and other test results.
Low value of MCH means that red blood cells are smaller than they should be and have less haemoglobin than normal. That may indicate iron deficiency or thalassemia.
High value of MCH means that red blood cells are bigger than they should be and have more haemoglobin than normal. That may indicate Vitamin B12 deficiency.
Mean cell haemoglobin concentration (MCHC) show how concentrated the haemoglobin is within the red blood cells. As with most of the tests on this panel, the results need to be interpreted in the context of the patient’s history and other results.
Low value of MCHC means a lower concentration of haemoglobin within the red cell than normal. That may indicate iron deficiency or thalassemia.
High value of MCHC means a higher concentration of haemoglobin within the red cell than normal. This happens with burns or a rare genetic condition – hereditary spherocytosis.
White blood cell count shows the number of white cells in the bloodstream. White cells are produced in the bone marrow and mature in various places around the body. To put it simply, the count of white cells has something to do with inflammation, allergies, blood cancer, trauma etc. The test becomes more informative when interpreted along with counting various types of white cells in the course full blood cell count and inflammation markers.
High levels of white cell count may point to inflammation, allergy, blood disorders, traumatic events.
Low levels of white cell count may point to a weakened immune response due to radiotherapy, blood disorders, immune disorders (HIV) etc.
Red cell distribution width (RDW) calculates the variation in the size of red blood cells. In other words, the test shows how much red cells within one sample differ in size and shape. The test helps to determine the kind of anaemia or blood disorder the patient has. Change in RDW can also be a sign of diabetes, heart disease, liver disease, genetic blood disorders. Like most of the other tests in this panel, this test needs to be interpreted in the context of other tests and symptoms.
Basophils are white blood cells responsible for immune function.
High volume of basophils may point to leukaemia, ongoing inflammation, hypersensitivity reaction to food, or consequences of radiation therapy. Elevated levels of basophils may also be associated with a thyroid disorder – hypothyroidism, blood disorders and autoimmune inflammation.
Low volume of basophils may indicate a severe allergic reaction.
Decreased levels of basophils may be caused by hyperthyroidism, infections and acute allergic reactions.
Eosinophils, like other white cells, participate in the immune response. Eosinophils are the first responders. When you think about eosinophils, think of an army of soldiers rushing to the point where the enemy entered the body. Those little soldiers sacrifice themselves fighting the intruder. The ’intruder’ may be a parasite (worm, microorganism, fungus), a toxin, any other biological substance. Dead eosinophils form pus.
High volume of eosinophils may be due to allergic disorders, skin disorders and parasitic infections.
Low volume of eosinophils may be due to some blood disorders.
Monocytes are the largest white cells. They, predominantly, act as phagocytes. They find and ‘eat’ the intruding infection agents. Monocytes can also poison the intruding cells.
High numbers of monocytes usually appear in response to the infection of all kinds and inflammatory disorders. Occasionally persistently elevated monocyte levels may be associated with some types of leukaemias – blood cancers.
Low levels of monocytes can indicate bone marrow injury or failure and some forms of leukaemia.
Lymphocytes can be B and T lymphocytes. B cells recognise foreign agents such as bacteria, viruses, toxins and produce antibodies to fight them. T cells are, mainly, killer cells. They kill foreign cells that entered the body, the body’s own sick cells and cancerous cells.
High levels of lymphocytes can point to bacterial or viral infection, leukaemia, lymphoma, radiation therapy or acute illness.
Low lymphocyte levels are common in later life but can also indicate the use of corticosteroid medication, excessive stress, lupus and HIV infection.
Neutrophils, like all other white cells, play a role in the immune response. However, they differ from other cells because they have the ability to go through the wall of blood vessels and attack foreign biological agents in the tissues.
High levels of neutrophils can point to infection, most likely bacterial, noninfectious inflammation, injury, surgery, smoking cigarettes or sniffing tobacco, high stress level, excessive exercise, corticosteroid use, heart attacks, rarely leukemia.
Low levels of neutrophils may be the result of severe infection or other conditions, such as responses to various medications or chemotherapy.
Platelets are tiny cells that float in the blood vessels around the body. As soon as an injury and a blood vessel is damaged, platelets rush to the scene and stick to each other, forming a clot. That is an ideal scenario that saved everyone’s life many, many times. However, the formation of the clot is not always a good thing. Some clots form without the need or in response to an injury of the internal wall of the blood vessel. Those clots may start travelling, ending up in the heart or brain, causing a heart attack or a stroke.
High levels of platelets may be in response to the bleeding, including bleeding in internal organs due to stomach ulcers or cancer.
Low levels of platelets may point to long term bleeding. Long term bleeding may cause depletion of the stock of platelets in the body. Some toxins and cancers may cause low platelet count.