Q:

What is a CBC test?

A:

Quick Answer

A complete blood count test is a medical test that screens for blood disorders and helps diagnose a wide range of health conditions, according to Healthline. The CBC test measures multiple blood components in order to detect blood abnormalities that may impact a person's health.

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Full Answer

A CBC test measures a person's red blood cell count, white blood cell count and hemoglobin levels. It also determines the fraction of blood that's composed of red blood cells, the average size of red blood cells, the amount of hemoglobin per red blood cell and the hemoglobin concentration in each cell relative to its size, according to MedlinePlus.

CBC screenings can be ordered by physicians who want to determine the overall health of a patient during a routine medical exam. It may also be ordered if doctors need to monitor a specific health problem or determine the cause of certain unexplained symptoms, such as weakness, swelling, bleeding or bruising, explains Healthline. The test can be given to patients of any age, and doctors may require patients to fast for a certain amount of hours prior to taking the test. If a CBC shows abnormalities, an additional CBC test may be administered in order to confirm the results of the test or to confirm a diagnosis.

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