We all undergo a blood test sometime or another in our life. While most of us have basic knowledge about hemoglobin, hematocrit, and white blood cells (WBC), there are a number of other components of a CBC report that we do not understand. If they appear in the report, they must hold some significance.
What are the different blood components?
The two main components are plasma and cells. The cells flow freely in a liquid-like substance which is known as plasma. The cells are of different types and include erythrocytes (red blood cells or RBC), leukocytes (white blood cells or WBC), and the thrombocytes, also known as platelets.
What is analyzed in a CBC test?
CBC test measures the number of RBCs, hemoglobin, hematocrit, reticulocytes, mean corpuscular volume, mean corpuscular hemoglobin, and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration in the blood. Additionally, platelets are also calculated in a CBC test.
Red blood cells
Commonly known as RBC, the measurement of the blood cells shows the number of erythrocytes in 1 cubic mm of whole blood. In the case of iron deficiency, blood loss, hemolysis, and bone marrow suppression the number of RBC decreases.
Hemoglobin is a pigment available in RBCs and is responsible for carrying oxygen to the different parts of the body. 14-18 g/dl and 12-16 g/dl is the normal level of Haemoglobin in males and females respectively.
This the measurement of cell volume as a percentage of the plasma and cell volume in the blood. Normally, the Haematocrit percentage is 3 times more than the hemoglobin count.
The new cells released by the bone marrow are known as Reticulocyte.
Indices are the measure of the average characteristics of the erythrocyte. This includes mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), the mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC), and red cell distribution width (RDW).
They are also known as thrombocytes. Platelets are also formed in the bone marrow. They can be defined as the fragments of the megakaryocyte cytoplasm and are responsible for stopping the bleeding. An individual dealing with thrombocytopenia will have a low platelet count.
White blood cells
White blood cells are smaller in size than red cells. They are also known as leukocytes. They are responsible for the response to any type of inflammatory condition or injury.
Miscellaneous content of CBC
- Bands: Also known as stabs. Their presence indicates that the inflammatory process is occurring.
- Eosinophils: The number of Eosinophils increases in case of allergic and inflammatory reactions and parasite infections
- Basophils: They contain heparin and histamine and are active in case of allergic and stress situations.
- Monocytes: They are responsible for removing injured and dead cells, microorganisms and other particles from an injured site.
- Lymphocytes: These are of two types – B cells and T cells and fight virus infections.
Hope this helps you read your CBC report efficiently the next time.