A CBC is a “Complete Blood Count”. It contains numerous individual tests that give your physician a basic yet thorough picture of the health of your blood which in turn reflects the state of your physiology. The CBC contains the following individual tests:
RBC (red blood cell count). The RBC is reported in cells/cubic mm.
WBC (white blood cell count). The WBC is reported in cells/cubic mm. There are several types of white blood cells that are also differentiated by percentage. If this “differential” count of the various WBCs is abnormal, or if the total WBC count is abnormal, a technologist will perform a “manual differential” count using a stained blood smear on a glass slide and a microscope. The technologist will be able to visually observe abnormalities using this method. The automated WBC count and differential will also find abnormalities and this will alert the technologist to perform a “manual differential” count of the white blood cells. At this time, any other cellular abnormalities will also be noted.
Platelet count. Platelets are smaller than RBCs and they stick together when stimulated by various proteins in cases of trauma to the body. When you get a cut, the platelets rush to the area to form a clot and prevent bleeding. Platelets are reported as cells/cubic millimeter.
Hemoglobin (Hb): Hemoglobin is the molecule in the RBC that carries oxygen and gives blood its red color. It is reported in grams/deciliter. The hemoglobin is measured to check for anemia and other illnesses.
Hematocrit (Hct): The hematocrit is a measure of the volume of RBCs as a percentage of whole blood.
There are other parameters that are measured or calculated that reflect human physiology.