CBC’s should be a regular part of your physical exam. They are used even to diagnose lupus. The test gives a lot of information about your body and your health. A phlebotomist will take your bold and send it to a lab. You do not need to fast. The test is also cost-effective and many insurance plans will pay the cost of the blood test.
What is a Complete Blood Count Measuring?
Using a special machine to help them analyze the blood, they take a count of the different blood parts. Each part can help hint at what is going on in your body. This can diagnose lupus and also gauge your overall health. The cell types counted in the test are…
Red Blood Cells
Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout the body. Usually, the cells are circular with a small dimple in the center. In people carrying the sickle cell gene, some of the bold cells have a structure that resembles a sickle or crescent moon shape. These miss formed red blood cells do not carry oxygen as effectively and can also clog vessels in the bloodstream resulting in pain and organ damage. This causes a disease called Sickle Cell Anemia, a condition that can occur in people with lupus. The people at the highest risk for developing sickle-cell are people of African, Asian, Central American, South American, Middle Eastern, Indian, and Mediterranean descent. These people have an increased risk of lupus. Lupus can also cause low levels of regular red blood cells. Fewer red blood cells mean less oxygen is being transported to the body. As cells and organs are starved of oxygen, fatigue and brain fog can happen. Anemia also makes organs more susceptible to damage. Catching these problems early allows people with lupus to pursue treatment options to prevent damage and relieve symptoms.
Hemoglobin abbreviated Hb or Hgb, is the iron-containing oxygen-transport metalloprotein in the red blood cells. Hemoglobin in the blood carries oxygen from the lungs or gills to the rest of the body. Measuring both hemoglobin levels and counting red blood cells helps doctors better diagnose anemia. Normal level falls in the range of 11.5 to 15.0 grams per deciliter of blood.
White Blood Cells
White blood cells are the body’s army. They attack the destroy invaders such as bacteria, viruses, fungi, and other pathogens. White blood cells are an important indicator of the state of the immune system and the potential risk of lupus flares. List of what the white blood cell count results mean…
- A normal count of white blood cells falls in the range of 4,500-10,000. If white blood cell levels are within normal ranges then it may indicate either a healthy immune system or a lull in inflammation. This is a good sign because they are protecting the body.
- When the levels are low it means the person’s immune system has been compromised. People with low white blood cell counts are vulnerable to infections and may need more help than usual to fight off disease. Lupus and many of its medications can lower white blood cell counts. Usually, low white blood cells are only a problem at 2,000 or below.
- If white blood cell levels are higher than normal, it indicates that the person is sick. High levels of white blood cells mean that the immune system is activated and that there is inflammation in the body even if there are no current symptoms. Special tests may be required to determine anything more specific.
Normal platelet counts are typically 150,000 to 300,000. Doctors start to be wary at levels below 100,000. Platelets are a small colorless disk-shaped cell fragment without a nucleus, found in large numbers in blood and involved in clotting. They move quickly, linking together to form a barrier between the bloodstream and the wound, stopping the bleeding and allowing the body’s natural repair mechanisms to begin fixing the wound. Low platelets known as thrombocytopenia, can make bleeding both internal and external more frequent and more dangerous.
The hematocrit, is the volume percentage of red blood cells in the blood, measured as part of a blood test. The measurement depends on the number and size of red blood cells. It is normally 40.7%–50.3% for men and 36.1%–44.3% for women. In addition to mounting the cell in your sample, it is important to measure the proportions of red blood cells to plasma (the liquid portion of your blood). The Hematocrit can help confirm a diagnosis of anemia. It can also be an indicator of lung and heart health, hydration and nutrition, and even hint at internal damage or bleeding.
CBC tests can help you see what is going on in your bloodstream and catch health problems immediately. Whether you have a confirmed lupus diagnosis or not, CBC tests can help you better track your health and well being.
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