An Ultimate CBC Test Cheat Sheet You Should Check
The Complete Blood Test or CBC test is one of the most anticipated at-home tests. To analyze the CBC test, you should keep in mind that there are two important parts of blood — cellular and plasma elements. Plasma is the liquid part of the blood which enables the smooth flow of blood. Blood cells are other parts of your blood.
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In our blood, red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), and platelets are the major cells. Each of these cells conducts major and specific functions. The amount of various types of blood cells is measured in a CBC test. In addition to, getting important insight into other parameters in each blood cell.
What Does Each Abbreviation Mean In A CBC Test?
Complete Blood Count is conducted to assess the overall health of a patient and it is one of the most common tests. It helps physicians to diagnose autoimmune disorders, infections, anemia, and other diseases. Here are some of the common abbreviations in the CBC test –
Red Blood Cell (RBC)
The main function of red blood cells is to provide your lungs with much-needed oxygen through body tissues and remove carbon dioxide from the body. Here are the recommended normal RBC values –
Infant — 4.1 to 6.1 million/µlt
Children — 3.8 to 6 million/µlt
Men — 4.5 to 5.5 million/µlt
Women — 4 to 5 million/µlt
High Level — The high level is It indicating smoking, dehydration, pulmonary fibrosis, congenital heart disease, renal cell carcinoma, pulmonary fibrosis, and polycythemia vera.
Drugs increasing RBC levels — Gentamicin, Methyldopa
Low Level — Anemia, Bleeding, overhydration, malnutrition, hemolysis, deficiency of erythropoietin, multiple myeloma, leukemia, thalassemia, porphyria, sickle cell anemia
Drugs that lower RBC levels — Hydantoins, quinidine, chloramphenicol, and drugs for chemotherapy
The Red blood cells contain a protein named hemoglobin. Our blood is made bright red by hemoglobin due to the presence of iron. People living thousands of meters above sea levels and smokers are more likely to have high hemoglobin levels. It is because their body produces it more to fulfill the need of oxygen.
However, a low amount of hemoglobin leads to different types of blood diseases like thalassemia and sickle cell disease.
Pregnancy — 10–15 g/dL
Male — 13.5–16.5 g/dL
Female — 12–15 g/dL
High Level — Reasons for high level are due to smoking, dehydration, tumors, polycythemia vera, lung disease, erythropoietin abuse, blood doping
Drugs causing high hemoglobin count — Iron supplements, erythropoietin
Low Level — The low level is due to blood loss, lack of nutrients, sickle cell anemia, renal problems, leukemia, bone marrow suppression, etc.
Drugs causing low hemoglobin count — Antibiotics, aspirin, sulfonamides, anti-neoplastic drugs, trimethadione, doxapram, indomethacin, primaquine, and rifampin.
Also called PCV or packed cell volume, Hematocrit refers to the percentage of a volume of RBCs in the blood. Hence, the result you will get varies by structure, size, and total RBC value. It is important to determine Hct to assess and diagnose a lack of nutrition, blood diseases, and hydration level.
Men — 41% to 50%
Children — 36% to 40%
Women — 36% to 44%
Infant — 55% to 68%
High level — Some of the common causes include smoking, dehydration, hypoxia, tumors, polycythemia vera, lung diseases, erythropoietin abuse, cor pulmonale, and blood doping.
Drugs that increase levels — Iron supplements
Drugs that reduce levels — Antibiotics, aspirin, etc.
White Blood Cell
There are, generally five different types of white blood cells — lymphocytes, neutrophils, eosinophils, monocytes, and basophils.
Recommended Range — 5000 to 10000 per microliter
High Level — Some of the common causes include smoking, infections, inflammatory diseases, leukemia, severe mental or physical stress, tissue damage
Drugs causing high level — Heparin, Corticosteroids, epinephrine, beta-adrenergic agonists, lithium, and granulocyte colony-provoking drugs
Low Levels — It may be caused due to deficiencies in bone marrow, autoimmune disorders, liver problems, viral diseases, spleen issues, radiation therapy, and extreme bacterial infections
Drugs causing low levels — Chemotherapeutic medicines, Diuretics, captopril, histamine-2 blockers, antibiotics, quinidine, anti-thyroid medications, terbinafine, chlorpromazine, etc.
Also known as thrombocytes, platelets bind together and circulate in the blood to clot over the blood vessel which is damaged. Also, it is very important to assess platelet count to diagnose the risk of thrombosis in patients.
Recommended range — 150,000 to 400,000 per Micro-liter
High Level — Some of the common causes of high level are:
- The recent removal of the spleen
- Polycythemia Vera
- Chronic myelogenous leukemia
- Secondary thrombocytosis
Drugs causing high platelet — Steroids, romiplostim, immunosuppressants, human IgG
Low Level — Some of the common causes of low levels are:
- Viral infection
- Aplastic anemia
- Deficiency of folic acid
- Vitamin B12
- Hemolytic uremic condition
- Systemic lupus erythematosus
- Disseminated intravascular coagulopathy
- HELLP syndrome,
- Cirrhosis etc.
Drugs causing low platelet — Some of the common drugs include aspirin, chemotherapeutic drugs, anagrelide, hydroxyurea, ranitidine, statins, quinidine, vancomycin, tetracycline, sulfonamides, valproic acid, etc.
Reference Ranges In Blood Tests
In blood tests, reference ranges are, basically, sets of values used to figure out a set of test results by a health professional from blood samples.
Therefore, the reference ranges are assessed using clinical chemistry, pathology, and statistics. As such, blood test results are analyzed with the reference range that comes from the laboratory.
Simply put, a reference range is the set of values, which is 95% prediction based on mass statistical data. Lab Me is working hard to rethink this outdated methodology and create ranges that are specific to you.
A simple explanation of all CBC test markers
Do you get a fasting blood test every year? have you asked for markers like thyroid, vitamin C- or D-reactive protein, and hormones? Do you get a copy of the test results to compare your files year by year? Are you familiar with the meaning of blood markers?
Therefore, you should look for the following markers when your blood test is being done along with regular ones –
- Ferritin Iron
- Vitamin D
- C-Reactive Protein
- T4 TSH
- Vitamin A, C, B7 (Biotin), B3 (Niacin)
Androstenedione and Dihydrotestosterone Testosterone
When it comes to hair loss, hormones that are discussed mostly are a group of hormones named androgens. DHT is the combined term that describes three categories of androgen hormones.
If a woman is having hair loss, it is wise to evaluate her thyroid health because hyper or hypothyroidism could be at the root of the hair.
According to the experts, your hair indicates your overall health. So, whatever you do for your health may lead to a direct impact on hair.
Here are some of the blood test markers you should include when CBC test is conducted by the doctor –
- ESR or Erythrocyte Sedimentation Rate
- CRP or C-Reactive Protein
- Thyroid Stimulating Hormone (TSH) and other tests — in case of symptoms like CFS due to hypothyroidism
- EBV (Epstein-Barr Virus) antibody test
- Cortisol — In the case of low adrenal gland functions and/or low cortisol concentrations are found.
- Rheumatoid Factor
- Lyme Antibodies Test
Here Are The Blood Markers Belong To Extended CBC test Panel –
- Vitamin B12
- Vitamin D
- Ferritin (Iron)
Antinuclear Antibody (ANA) test to detect LUPUS and other autoimmune problems
So checking out blood test report seem boring to you? Add more than just regular markers to know more about your health and make it more interesting.
Now consider the CBC test apart from the test result in the comprehensive metabolic panel test. You can get to know about the imbalances in your body, how your body is working, lack of nutrition, and pathways to detoxifications.
What A High Or Low-Value May Represent?
Levels going below or above the normal CBC values in the following areas are the indicators of a certain problem–
White Blood Cells (Leukopenia)
A low WBC count represents a medical condition like bone marrow problems, cancer, or autoimmune disorder which removes white blood cells. There are some medications that may lower the WBC counts.
On the other side, a higher WBC count represents inflammation or infection. It could also be a sign of bone marrow disease or immune system disorder. Reaction to a certain medication is the major cause of high WBC count.
RBC Count (Hematocrit and Hemoglobin)
Hematocrit and hemoglobin are related to Red Blood Cell count as your red blood cells are determined by each measure. In these areas, if readings are lower, it is a sign of anemia, which causes weakness and fatigue.
There are many causes of anemia, such as low levels of iron or vitamins or blood loss. Higher RBC count than normal or erythrocytosis or high hematocrit or hemoglobin levels could be the cause of heart disease.
Platelet count — Higher or lower platelet count may represent a common medical condition or side effects of a drug. If platelet count goes beyond the recommended range, you may need other tests to determine the cause.
Clearly Defined Ranges for Each Biomarker
The Common CBC test Panels
CBC with Differential
It determines the percentages and numbers of several types of blood cells in a sample. CBC lab test is one of the widely-used tests to keep track of overall health.
BMP (Basic Metabolic Panel)
- It measures the functioning of the kidney, electrolyte levels, and blood sugar levels.
- This is one of the most common tests conducted by healthcare professionals.
- BMP has 7–8 biochemical tests.
- The BMP helps monitor and assesses overall health, medical therapies, response to medication, and it determines the functioning of metabolism.
It determines fatty elements in your blood because high cholesterol and triglyceride levels are responsible for high risk of heart diseases.
CMP (Comprehensive Metabolic Panel)
- It tests functioning of liver, kidney, parathyroid and diabetic status, fluid and electrolyte balance.
- CMP consists of a panel including 14 blood results and it expands as BMP or basic metabolic panel, including liver tests.
- It is also called as CMP 14 or Complete Metabolic Panel 14 or Chemical Screen.
Here is some detail about the CBC Biomarkers
- Red Blood cells are split inside liver and spleen and are made in bone marrow.
- It may increase due to high testosterone levels and dehydration.
- It may be lower because of the lack of nutrients (for eg. Vitamin B6, iron, Vitamin B12, and folate), chronic inflammation, kidney dysfunction, blood loss, and anemia.
- It includes the percentage of blood volume having RBCs.
- Dehydration, smoking, increased testosterone levels, poor oxygen levels, lack of thiamin, and insulin resistance.
- These are some of the common causes behind increased levels. On the other side, liver disease, anemia, lack of arginine, hypothyroidism, lack of protein, inflammation caused due to lack of nutrients.
This type of protein in your blood delivers oxygen to the cells. It may increase due to poor oxygen, dehydration, increased testosterone levels, lack of thiamin, and insulin resistance.
Here are some of the common causes of a reduced level of Hemoglobin:
- Liver disease,
- Lack of arginine,
- Lack of protein,
- Inflammation caused by a deficiency of nutrients like magnesium,
- Vitamin E,
- Copper, zinc, etc.
- These are nucleated, small cell fragments vital for vascular integrity and clotting.
- It may increase because of deficiency of iron, anemia, hemolytic, collagen problems, stress, blood loss, inflammation, and infection.
- It may reduce because of liver dysfunction, alcoholism, bacterial/viral infections, bleeding, and pernicious anemia.
Mean Platelet Volume (MPV)
- This is a measure of the average platelets size. It increases because of the increment in the production of platelets.
- This is often the case because of destruction or loss of platelets. Increased MPV value can be associated with mortality and vascular disease, type 2 diabetes, cancers, and thyroiditis.
- The main causes of lower MPV include the conditions related to under-production of platelets, including cytotoxic drug therapy or aplastic anemia.
Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH)
- It determines the average weight of hemoglobin in each red blood cell.
- It may increase because of the lack of nutrients like folate, vitamin B12, and Vitamin C, lack of thiamin, alcohol consumption, and hyperlipidemia.
- The major causes of lower MCH include deficiency of iron and nutrients like copper, vitamin B6, zinc, vitamin C and vitamin A.
Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV)
- It estimates the average size of the red blood cell.
- It may increase because of a lack of nutrients (folate, vitamin B12, and vitamin C), deficiency of thiamine, and alcoholism.
- The main causes of lower MCV value are the deficiency of iron and nutrients (copper, zinc, Vitamin B6, vitamin A, and C).
Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration (MCHC)
- It measures the average value of hemoglobin in RBCs.
- It may increase due to deficiency of nutrients (folate, vitamin B12, and Vitamin C), thiamin deficiency, consumption of alcohol and hyperlipidemia.
- The major causes of low MCHC levels are a deficiency of iron and nutrients (copper zinc, vitamin B6, A, and C)
RBC Distribution Width (RDW)
It measures the variation in the size of the red blood cell. The main causes of increased levels are anemias related to deficiency of nutrients (vitamin A, iron, zinc, copper, vitamin B6).
It is a type of white blood cell, including T-cells, B-cells, and Natural Killers. The main causes of its high level are viral infections, auto-immune diseases like Crohn’s disease, and hypoadrenalism. Major causes of its lower levels include a spike in white blood cells and zinc deficiency.
This is the kind of most abundant WBC that controls pathogens. However, it may increase because of inflammation or bacterial infection. Also, It may reduce because of deficiencies of nutrients (B12, copper folate) and a spike in other WBCs.
These are the immune cells that activate in the last stage of inflammation. Hence, Allergies, parasitic infection, asthma, skin diseases like ulcerate colitis, eczema, etc. Also, aspirin sensitivity is the major cause of its increased levels. Elevated cortisol may be the major cause of its lower levels.
These are basically white blood cells that turn into macrophages and leave the circulation. It may increase due to collagen problems, inflammation, recovery after a trauma, and ulcerative colitis.
These are white blood cells related to hypersensitivity and inflammation. It may increase due to allergies, inflammation, hypothyroidism, and hemolytic anemia.
Analyzing A CBC
- For a Complete Blood Count, the blood sample is assessed in our partner laboratory. There are several automated machines which conduct the analysis of your blood sample with precision and reliably.
- A small sample of your blood is collected from your body and is extracted into the machine.
- The values of components are determined and display within a few minutes. Later on, the technicians will do QA for review.
- Your results are digitized and sent to Lab Me anonymously and encrypted.
- Lab Me aggregates your data and compiles it into your dashboard.
- In the past, a small sample of the blood was collected and placed on a glass slide for visual tests on a microscope to analyze such data. A doctor or a well-trained lab technician was responsible for this test.
- Now with advancements in technology and techniques since 2018, the accuracy of micro-sampling techniques are now as reliable as going to the lab.
The Usage of CBC Test
- A Complete Blood Count analysis is widely using test. It can conduct usually as part of the general screening and routine health exam by a doctor.
- In case anemia or infection is suspect, it may order. It is asked even when it comes to assessing unusual bleeding.
- One of the major causes of inflammation or infection may be the abnormality of white blood cell differential or increased white blood cell count.
- The Low or high WBC count may also be the sign of cancer, including lymphoma or leukemia.
- Low level of hemoglobin or red blood cell count is usually the sign of low blood (anemia).
- Usually, anemia is seen when hematocrit or hemoglobin is low on the CBC. It may be a sign of disease but not a disease.
CBC test For Anemia Test
There is a long list of anemia causes. These are simply a few of the widespread causes. Due to the constant loss of blood, the CBC test report may suggest anemia. However, we can use this test to diagnose colon cancer and other types of cancers also. Usually, RDW and MCV indicate some clues if anemia is found.
The Low platelet count may also be one of the common problems found in the CBC test report.
The major causes of it include:
- Some medications,
- Bone marrow problems, or alcoholism,
- Genetic or immunologic problems,
- Cancers like leukemia, and advanced liver disease.
MPV can show the frequency of making platelets in the bone marrow and how it is released into your blood. Also, blood malignancy or inflammation may also be the cause of high platelet count.
Why Lab Me?
Lab Me is the first in the USA to offer an at-home CBC test. Our lab is CAP & CLIA accredited, and uses the same technology that your hospital or clinic would use. We then use proprietary technology to turn your results into something that is visually appealing, simple & easy to understand.
- To review your overall health. Your doctor may recommend a complete blood count as part of a routine medical examination to monitor your general health and to screen for a variety of disorders, such as anemia or leukemia.
- To diagnose a medical condition. Your doctor may suggest a complete blood count if you’re experiencing weakness, fatigue, fever, inflammation, bruising or bleeding. A complete blood count may help diagnose the cause of these signs and symptoms. If your doctor suspects you have an infection, the test can also help confirm that diagnosis.
- To monitor a medical condition. If you’ve been diagnosed with a blood disorder that affects blood cell counts, your doctor may use complete blood counts to monitor your condition.
- To monitor medical treatment. A complete blood count may be used to monitor your health if you’re taking medications that may affect blood cell counts.
Also, you can use this application for different types of tests, including
- Detect infections
- Provide historical tracking to your MD
- Monitor disease
- Track drug efficacy
As the result, you can start using Lab Me today and start interpreting your complete blood test reports at home. It works on machine intelligence which gives accurate measurements of your blood reports.
Lab Me can explain what your blood test report has to say in easy and simple language. Hence, it can help avoid confusion and give a detailed and in-depth insight into your future.
Plus, never have to drive to the MD to get the prescription, drive to the lab for the test, or sit in a waiting room.