COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT TEST DEFINITION
The complete blood count test (also known as the CBC test) is a test used to evaluate your health by counting all the cells in your blood. A CBC measures several parts of your blood, which includes red blood cells, white blood cells, hemoglobin, hematocrit, and platelets.
COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT TEST PURPOSE
Any abnormal increases or decreases in blood count can be readily seen by taking the CBC test. It's also a handy test you can use to screen for certain diseases and disorders that could negatively impact your health.
COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT TEST RISKS
Because this is a blood test, the risks associated with it include infection (always a risk with procedures that involve breaking the skin), lightheadedness, fainting, and excessive bleeding. Never forget to tell your doctor if you're taking any anticoagulant drugs prior to taking the test.
Image: COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT TEST
COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT TEST PREPARATION REQUIRED
You can eat or drink normally when taking this test, unless of course it's part of a battery of tests and the other tests require you to fast before taking them. Other than that, this standalone test requires little to no preparation save for you divulging your medical and drug use history.
COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT TEST PROCEDURE
A CBC test... or any blood test, for that matter... will always entail drawing blood from a vein from your arm or some other part of your body if your arm is unavailable. Once the blood has been drawn, it will be forwarded to a lab for further analysis. The results will be handed to you later on.
COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT TEST COMPLICATIONS
Infection is the likeliest complication, even though the risk for it is low, followed by hemorrhaging, hematoma, and fainting or lightheadedness. There are no complications related to allergies and the like because the test involves taking the blood, not injecting any sedatives or painkillers into you.
COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT TEST SIDE EFFECTS
Soreness and slight bleeding of the penetration site is to be expected. However, unlike with biopsies and aspirations, the pain is temporary. If pain and bleeding persists or discharge happens, contact your doctor immediately.
COMPLETE BLOOD COUNT TEST RESULTS
A low red blood cell, hemoglobin, and hematocrit count may mean anemia, while a high one may mean erythrocytosis (high red blood cell levels), polycythemia, or heart disease (high hemoglobin or hematocrit levels). A low white blood cell count may mean leukopenia and a high one may mean infection or inflammation. A high platelet count (thrombocytosis) or a low one (thrombocytopenia) may be symptoms of disease or medication side effects.