Blood counts are one of the ways we can use to identify a disease or monitor your health.
There are many tests related to blood counts, and even if they cannot diagnose lymphoma by a blood test alone, they can be used to alert your doctor to a problem in your body and prompt your doctor to do the needed tests.
A large percentage of chemotherapy regimens result in low blood counts for you, and the tests become essential in monitoring your health.
Three types of cells are found in your bloodstream: Red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets.
A complete blood count also known as full blood exam or full blood count is a test panel asked by your doctor that shows information about the cells in your blood.
A lab technician does the testing and gives the results of the CBC. High or low counts that are not normal may indicate a disease which is why blood counts are among the most common tests that are done on a patient.
Blood tests measure your red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. The test only utilizes a few drops of your blood. A machine does all cell counting although technicians examine your blood cells using a microscope to make sure that there are no abnormalities.
We sometimes wonder about which has more blood count our red blood cells or white blood cells?
Normal blood cell count levels are:
- 4.2 to 5.4 million cells per ml for women
- 2.6 to 4.8 million cells per ml for children
- 4.5 to 6.2 million cells per ml for men
The number of RBC’s can also be shown through hematocrit, which is the ratio of the number of RBC’s to the amount of blood. Typical percentages are:
- 42% to 52% in men
- 37% to 47% in women
- 36% to 40% in children
Hemoglobin in your RBC allows the cell to carry oxygen. Having a low hemoglobin may result in anemia and fatigue.
White blood cells have immune cells that protect you and attacks viruses and bacteria in your body. Low WBC counts may show that you have an infection. A high WBC count indicates that you have an existing infection, tissue damage or leukemia.
Normal levels are 4,000 to 10,800 cells per ml in your blood.
There are different types of WBCs, and they have different percentages which are:
- Eosinophils 1% to 4% of all your WBCs
- Monocytes 2% to 9% of all your WBCs
- Basophils 0.5% to 2% of all your WBCs
- Neutrophils 50% to 60% of all your WBCs
- Lymphocytes 20% to 40% of all your WBCs
- Absolute Neutrophil Count ANC
Neutrophils are your first line of protection against a disease or infection. These cells cause inflammation when you have cuts and produces pus to fight off bacteria.
A low level of neutrophils or neutropenia makes a person open to disease. Smoking and being overweight decrease a persons neutrophil count.
Platelets make our blood clot when needed. Normal levels are 133,000 to 333,000 platelets per ml of your blood. If this level goes down to below 30,000 abnormal bleeding may occur. If your platelet count is lower than 5,000, your situation is already considered life-threatening.
Facts About Blood Cells
- Your blood makes up 7% of your body weight
- You have 150 billion RBC in an ounce of blood
- Blood cells are continuously being produced and replaced depending on their lifespan. Majority of blood cells are produced in your bone marrow.
- There are 30 blood types, the common system used is the ABO system which uses the category of type O, A, B, and AB.
- Platelets control bleeding, and they make up less than 1% of your blood.
- Red blood cells contain hemoglobin, they live for 120 days and are destroyed in your spleen and replaced by new cells.
- White blood cells defend our bodies and are a vital part of your immune system. You are protected from specific bacteria, viruses, cancer cells, diseases and other unwanted organisms that enter your body.
- Plasma is a yellow mixture of proteins, water, and salts. It functions as a carrier for blood cells, enzymes, nutrients and hormones.
- – A drop of blood takes 20 to 60 seconds to travel from your heart, throughout your whole body, then back to your heart again.