Complete Blood Count (CBC) -What does it show about your health

Complete Blood Count (CBC)

Definition of Complete Blood Count (CBC)

A Complete Blood Count (CBC) is a blood test that measures the number and volume of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets in a sample of blood. It also measures the levels of haemoglobin, hematocrit and other factors.

Importance of CBC in overall health assessment

The CBC test is vital for diagnosing and monitoring many health conditions. It can help detect anaemia, infections, blood disorders and certain types of cancer.

The test is often used as a routine screening test to check for health problems in people with no symptoms. It can also monitor the health of people with chronic conditions, such as diabetes or heart disease. Overall, a CBC test is a valuable tool for understanding the overall health status of an individual.

Components of a CBC

Red blood cells (RBCs)

A CBC test measures the number and volume of RBCs and the levels of haemoglobin and hematocrit, which are proteins essential for carrying oxygen. An abnormal RBC count or haemoglobin/hematocrit level can indicate anaemia, a blood disorder, or other health problems.

White blood cells (WBCs)

White blood cells, also known as leukocytes, are responsible for fighting infection and disease. A CBC test measures the number and types of WBCs. An abnormal WBC count can indicate an infection, inflammation, or other health problems.


Platelets, also known as thrombocytes, are responsible for blood clotting. A CBC test measures the number of platelets. An abnormal platelet count can indicate a bleeding disorder, bone marrow disorder or other health problems.

What can CBC show about your health?

A Complete Blood Count (CBC) can say a lot about an individual’s health. Some of the critical things that a CBC can determine include:


A CBC can help to detect anaemia. This can cause fatigue, weakness, and other symptoms. A variety of factors, including blood loss, a lack of iron or other nutrients in the diet, and certain medical conditions, can cause anaemia.


A CBC can detect inflammation by measuring the number and types of white blood cells. An increase in the number of white blood cells can indicate that the body is fighting inflammation.

Blood disorders

A CBC can detect many types of blood disorders, such as leukaemia, lymphoma, and other types of cancer. It can also detect other blood disorders such as Hemophilia, Hemolytic anaemia and others.

Factors that can affect CBC results

The following are the factors that can affect CBC results.


Certain medications can affect CBC results. For example, blood thinners such as warfarin or heparin can cause a decrease in platelet count, while some antibiotics can cause an increase in white blood cells.


A diet deficient in certain vitamins or minerals can affect CBC results. For example, a deficiency in iron can lead to anaemia, which can cause a decrease in haemoglobin and red blood cells. Similarly, a deficiency in vitamin B12 can also cause anaemia.


Intense physical exercise can cause an increase in white blood cells, as well as a decrease in haemoglobin and red blood cells. This is because, during intense exercise, the body may release stress hormones that can cause the breakdown of red blood cells.


Living at high altitude can cause an increase in red blood cells, as the body produces more red blood cells to compensate for the lower oxygen levels at high altitude.

When to get a CBC

A healthcare provider may order a CBC test for a variety of reasons, including:

· To evaluate overall health or screen for a variety of conditions, such as anaemia, infection, or leukaemia.

· To monitor the treatment of a specific condition, such as cancer or anaemia.

· To evaluate the effectiveness of a treatment, such as chemotherapy or radiation therapy.

· To monitor the side effects of certain medications, such as blood thinners.

· To check for bleeding or clotting disorders

· To check for signs of inflammation


The CBC is a valuable tool for understanding and monitoring your overall health. It is important to discuss any abnormal results with your healthcare provider. Regular CBC testing can help identify potential health issues early on and allow for timely treatment.


What is a Complete Blood Count (CBC) test?

A Complete Blood Count (CBC) test is a routine blood test used to evaluate overall health and screen for various conditions. The test measures the number and types of cells in the blood, including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.

Why is a CBC test important?

The CBC test is important because it can provide important information about a person’s health and can help detect a wide range of conditions and diseases. For example, it can help detect anaemia (a lack of red blood cells), infection, leukaemia, and other blood disorders.

How is a CBC test performed?

A CBC test involves taking a blood sample from a vein, usually in the arm, which is then analyzed in a lab.

How do I prepare for a CBC test?

There is no specific preparation needed for a CBC test. You can eat and normally drink before the test. It’s recommended to wear comfortable and loose clothing for the test. You should inform your healthcare provider about any medications or supplements you are taking and any recent changes in your diet, exercise routine, or living altitude, as these factors can affect CBC results.

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