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How do you interpret a CBC blood test?

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Quick Answer

The results of the complete blood count, or CBC, provide information regarding the different types of cells in the patient's blood, and whether there is a normal amount of each type. This information, along with symptoms, can help a doctor diagnose certain health conditions, explains WebMD. The most relevant values are usually the counts for the red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets.

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Full Answer

When values are out of range for a particular type of cell, this can indicate a particular health condition, states WebMD. For example, a rapid rise in the white blood cells usually occurs in response to a bacterial infection. If the red blood cell count is too low, it means the patient is anemic and his blood is not carrying an adequate amount of oxygen through his body. Platelets are important for normal blood clotting. If the value is too low, the patient may have problems with uncontrollable bleeding; if the value is too high, it can indicate the presence of blood clot formation in the blood vessels.

The exact normal values for the CBC vary somewhat from one lab to another, but fall within the same general range. The doctor also considers other factors regarding the patient's health to determine what values are normal or problematic, says WebMD.

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