Full Blood Count

Red Blood Cell Count (RBC)

Responsible for carrying oxygen around the body. A high count can increase the risk of heart attack or stroke, whilst a low count can mean your body isn’t getting the oxygen it needs.

Haemoglobin

A good measure of your blood’s ability to carry oxygen throughout your body. Elevated haemoglobin can be an indicator of lung disease, whilst low can indicate anaemia.

 

Haematocrit

A measure of the percentage of red blood cells in the total blood volume. Elevated haematocrit can increase risk for heart attack or stroke.

 

MCV

Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) is a measure of the average size of red blood cells. The MCV is elevated when RBC’s are larger than normal indicating macrocytic anaemia, for example from B12 or folate deficiency. When MCV is decreased indicating microcytic anaemia as seen in iron deficiency anaemia.

 

MCH

Mean corpuscular haemoglobin (MCH) is a calculation of the average amount of oxygen carrying haemoglobin within the RBC. Larger RBC’s tend to have higher MCH and smaller RBC’s have less.

 

MCHC

Mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration (MCHC) is a calculation of the average concentration of haemoglobin inside a RBC. Decreased MCHC occurs in iron deficiency anaemia and thalassaemia.

 

RDW

Red cell distribution width (RDW) is a calculation of the variation in the size of your RBC’s. Some anaemias such as pernicious anaemia (due to B12 deficiency) causes an increase in the RDW.

 

White Blood Cell Count (WBC)

White blood cells (WBC’s) are responsible for fighting infection. A high count can indicate recent infection, stress, inflammation, autoimmunity or some leukemias, whilst a low count can result from nutrient deficiencies, immune suppressing medications, radiation exposure, stress, prolonged illness, systemic lupus, drug toxicity.

 

Neutrophils

A type of WBC that can increase in response to bacterial infection, burns, stress or inflammation. Low count can occur from B12 deficiency, radiation exposure, drug toxicity or SLE (autoimmune lupus).

 

Lymphocytes

A type of WBC can increase in viral or bacterial infection and some leukemias or acute illness. Can become decreased during prolonged illness, natural aging process, stress, lupus, HIV infection, corticosteroid treatment and immune suppression.

 

Monocytes

A type of WBC will be increased from viral and fungal infections, chronic illnesses, tuberculosis and some leukemias. Can become decreased in bone marrow suppression or injury or corticosteroid treatment, some leukaemia’s.

 

Eosinophils

A type of white blood cell that can increase due to allergic reactions, parasitic infections, inflammation of the skin and autoimmunity. More rarely they can increase from bone marrow malignancies. They can be decreased from drug toxicity or stress.

 

Basophils

Another type of white blood cell which increases from allergic hypersensitivity reactions, leukaemia’s, cancers, long standing inflammation and hypothyroidism. Basophils become decreased in pregnancy, ovulation, stress or hyperthyroidism.

 

Platelet Count

Responsible for blood clotting and healing. Can be increased in atherosclerosis and can increase the risk of thrombosis, also leukemias, polycythaemia, inflammation, anaemias, acute blood loss, excessive exercise and oral contraceptive pill. Can be reduced from viral and bacterial infections, heavy metals, oxidative stress, certain drugs, leukemias, liver dysfunction, alcoholism, nutrient deficiencies, excessive B3 consumption.

The full blood count is used as a broad screening test to check for such disorders as anaemia (decrease in red blood cells or haemoglobin), infection, and many other diseases. It is actually a group of tests that examine different parts of the blood. Results from the following tests provide the broadest picture of your health.