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What do the numbers in blood test results mean?

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Quick Answer

The numbers in blood test results mean different things depending on the type of test that is given by the doctor, the AARP explains. Talk to a doctor about blood test numbers to get an accurate description of unusual results.

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Full Answer

The AARP lists normal numbers for metabolic panels and lipid panels. Normal lipid panel readings include a total cholesterol level of less than 200 milligrams per deciliter. Doctors perform complete blood count tests to diagnose cancer-related problems, the American Cancer Society says. The test studies red and white blood cells, hemoglobin, hematocrit and platelets in the blood.

Normal levels of red blood cells lie between 4.32 and 5.72 trillion cells per liter for men, or 3.90 and 5.03 trillion cells per liter for women, the Mayo Clinic says. White blood cells are between 3.5 and 10.5 billion cells per liter at normal levels. Healthy counts of platelets lie between 150 and 450 billion per liter.

Complete blood count tests that show numbers lower than normal in at least three categories are a sign of anemia, the Mayo Clinic explains. High levels of red blood cells, hemoglobin or hematocrit are a sign of heart disease in some cases. A low white blood cell count indicates autoimmune disorders or cancer. High numbers of white blood cells sometimes result from infection. Abnormal platelet counts usually require further testing to determine the cause.

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