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Know Your Numbers: Complete Blood Count (CBC)

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  • Written By: Sara Olsen MS, CHES
Know Your Numbers: Complete Blood Count (CBC)

As a part of your regular physical your provider will often request blood work before your visit. One of the most common tests requested is a CBC.

So, why is this test so common and important? A complete blood count (CBC) is a blood test used to evaluate your overall health and detect a wide range of conditions that affect the blood, such as anemia, infection, inflammation, bleeding disorders or cancers.

The Complete Blood Count (CBC) is looking at:

White Blood Cells (WBCs) – detect and fight infections- a high level indicates inflammation or infection, low levels may indicate that you are at risk for infections.

Red Blood Cells (RBC) – tells the practitioner how red blood cells you have. Primary role is to carry oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Hemoglobin Concentration (HGB)- the oxygen-carrying protein in red blood cells that holds the oxygen and carbon dioxide. Measuring this gives a picture of the blood ability to carry oxygen. Low hemoglobin is an indicator of anemia. Hemoglobin increases with altitude adaption.

Hematocrit Value, the how much of your blood is comprised of red blood cells and plasma. Low levels can indicate low iron, high levels can indicate dehydration or other conditions.

Indices, values which measure hemoglobin, hematocrit and platelet components found in blood.

MCV, or Mean Cell Volume, measures the average size of the RBC.

MCH, or Mean Cell Hemoglobin, measures the average quantity of hemoglobin found in a single RBC. Hemoglobin is the protein that carries oxygen to the tissue.

MCHC, or Mean Cell Hemoglobin Concentration, reflects the average volume or size of hemoglobin in the RBC.

RDW, or Red Cell distribution, measures the volume of RBC.

MPV, or Mean Platelet Volume, measures the average size of platelets in your blood.

Platelet Count, One of the smallest type of cell, used to stop bleeding. When you are injured these cells rush to the injury site and help with clotting. Platelet counts are done if you are prone to bruising and before surgery. Your platelets change with bleeding disorders, heart disease, diabetes, inflammatory disorders and anemia.

Differential Blood Count is made up of five different types of white cells. White blood cells (leukocytes) are part of your immune system, a network of cells, tissues and organs that work together to protect you from infection. They include:

  • Neutrophils -are the most common type of white blood cell. These cells travel to the site of an infection and release enzymes to fight off invading viruses or bacteria.
  • Lymphocytes- There are two main types of lymphocytes: B cells and T cells. B cells fight off invading viruses, bacteria, or toxins. T cells target and destroy the body's own cells that have been infected by viruses or cancer cells.
  • Monocytes- remove foreign material, remove dead cells, and boost the body's immune response.
  • Eosinophils- fight infection, inflammation, and allergic reactions. They also defend the body against parasites and bacteria.
  • Basophils- release enzymes to help control allergic reactions and asthma attacks.

Abnormal increases or decreases in your complete blood count may indicate that you have an underlying medical condition that calls for further evaluation. These results can vary by age, gender and how high above sea level you live. If you have question, follow up with your medical provider.

Wellness offers the Campbell County, Wyoming community daily blood draws every Monday-Thursday, from 6 am-12 pm, and Friday, from 6-11 am, at 1901 Energy Ct., Suite 125—located behind Wendy's in Gillette, Wyoming. For Wright residents, these screenings are also available at the Wright Clinic, 500 Latigo Drive, Monday-Friday from 8-11 am. No appointment required! Use the My Health Home patient portal and get access to most test results in less than 48 hours. For more information about the blood tests and health screenings available at Wellness, call 307.688.8051 or visit

Have Questions?
Sara Olsen, MS, CHES, works at CCH Wellness as a Health Coach in Gillette, Wyoming. Campbell County Health's Wellness works to reduce health risks and promote overall wellness among employee groups and individuals in Campbell County, Wyoming and beyond. To learn more about Wellness, please visit or call 307-688-8051.

  • Category: Campbell County Medical Group Wright Clinic & Occupational Health, Laboratory, Wellness