One of the tests that might be needed when you have a blood check up or a medical is a full blood count. The full blood count is a test that looks at the cells in your blood and it can tell your doctor a lot about your health.
What Does a Full Blood Count Measure?
Your blood contains several different types of cells that all have their own particular function to perform: red blood cells that carry oxygen, white blood cells that fight off infections, and platelets that help the blood to clot when you are injured. In order to stay healthy, you need to have the right amount of each of these cell types. When a full blood count is conducted as part of your blood check up, the number of each type of cell is counted in the blood sample.
What Do the Results Mean?
Your doctor will the results of the blood check up and any other tests, and help you to understand exactly what your results mean. If a problem is found by a full blood count, it could be due to one of the following problems.
- Red blood cell count:
A high red blood cell count might indicate heart disease, lung disease, a problem with your bone marrow, or simple dehydration. A low count could be caused by anaemia, kidney disease, a bone marrow problem, malnutrition, or blood loss. Sometimes haemoglobin levels are measured instead of the red blood cell count, but the causes of high and low haemoglobin are the same.
- White blood cell count:
A high white blood cell count is usually due to an infection, but it can also be a sign of leukaemia. A low white blood cell count is often simply genetic, but it can be due to a problem with your bone marrow.
- Platelet count:
A high platelet count is usually caused by an infection, a condition linked to inflammation, or a bone marrow problem. Low platelet counts might indicate an infection or an autoimmune condition.