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What is a CBC with differential in hematology?

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Quick Answer

In hematology, a CBC with differential is a complete blood count providing information about red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets in the blood. The differential, or white blood cell differential, provides additional information about the types of white blood cells, according to WebMD.

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The CBC with differential panel of tests helps diagnose conditions such as anemia, infection and leukemia and provides information about an individual's overall health, states the University of Rochester Medical Center. This information can help inform doctors about symptoms such as weakness, fatigue and bruising, reports WebMD.

The white blood count differential counts each type of white blood cell -- neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils and basophils -- all of which help fight infections, according to URMC. Each type of cell plays a different role in protecting the body; measuring each of these types of white blood cells provides important information about the immune system. Too many or too few of the different types of white blood cells can indicate inflammation, infection, an allergic or toxic reaction to medicines or chemicals, and other conditions, such as leukemia, states WebMD. When an infection is present, white blood cells attack and destroy the bacteria, virus or other organism responsible for the infection, causing the number of white cells to rise very quickly. The CBC with differential also obtains information about the number and size of red blood cells, how much hemoglobin is present in red blood cells, the number of platelets in the blood and other factors, states URMC.

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