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How do you read a blood count test result?

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Interpreting the results of a complete blood count test involves comparing the cell counts and other metrics evaluated in the test to typical values to determine if the reported counts fall within healthy ranges, according to Mayo Clinic. Different types of blood cell each have different healthy ranges, some of which vary between genders. Blood counts outside of the normal ranges may indicate certain diseases, depending on the type of blood cells that are over- or under-represented.

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Complete blood counts assess the levels of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets, states Mayo Clinic. Complete blood counts also assess levels of the oxygen-carrying molecule hemoglobin and the ratio of red blood cells to plasma volume in the blood, also known as the hematocrit level.

Typical ranges for white blood cell counts and platelets range from 3.5 to 10 billion cells per liter and 150 to 540 billion platelets per liter. Red blood cell counts, hemoglobin levels and the hematocrit level tend to be lower in women than in men; for example, healthy red blood cell counts for women range between 3.9 and 5.3 trillion cells per liter, while the healthy range for men is 4.32 to 5.72 trillion cells per liter. Though significant departures from these norms are typical of diseases such as leukemia or anemia, the complete blood count itself is not a definitive test for any disease, notes Mayo Clinic.

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