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Complete Blood Count

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Updated December 08, 2011

Definition: Complete Blood Count (CBC) is a test that measures the numbers, types, and health of the cells in the blood. To obtain a CBC, your blood will be drawn and sent to a laboratory. The blood will be analyzed for the amounts, types, and health of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets (thrombocytes).

Additionally, a typical CBC includes measures of hematocrit, the volume or space taken up by red blood cells in a given volume of blood; hemoglobin, which indicates how well your blood can carry oxygen; mean corpuscular volume (MCV), the size of the red blood cells; mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), the average amount of hemoglobin in red blood cells; mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC), the average hemoglobin concentration in red blood cells; and mean platelet volume (MPV), which refers to the average volume of platelets.

Your doctor will use your CBC results to determine the cause of symptoms such as fatigue, weakness, or fever; diagnose blood diseases such as leukemia; determine how well your body is responding to and handling your cancer treatments; diagnose types and severity of anemia; and decide on further treatments that may be needed to keep you healthy, such as a medication to boost your blood cell counts.

Also Known As: blood count
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