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Complete blood count consists of a series of tests.

Complete blood count, CBC – Measurement and reference values

The difference between the complete blood count and the basic blood count is that the CBC also includes the total number of platelets and the differential white blood cell count.

Complete blood count, CBC

  • Complete blood count consists of a series of tests.
  • Tests determine the number of blood cells and the structure of red blood cells.
  • Anemia can be detected by the hemoglobin test included in the complete blood count.
  • White blood cells affect our immune system. 

What is complete blood count, CBC?

Complete blood count (CBC) is a laboratory test on a venous blood sample that provides information about blood cells and related values. Values to be tested include the numbers of each cell type, the red blood cell and platelet indices, and the differential white blood cell count.

Complete blood count provides valuable information about a person’s health status and possible illnesses. The test may also reveal indicators calling for more detailed tests.

In which situation is a CBC necessary?

Complete blood count is a series of tests that measure the hemoglobin level in the blood and count the number of blood cells. 

The difference between the complete blood count and the basic blood count is that the CBC also includes the total number of platelets and the differential white blood cell count.

Anemia can be detected by the hemoglobin test included in the complete blood count. Following symptoms may also call for tests that look for changes in the blood count: 

How can I get my complete blood count tested?

You can order the complete blood count as a single test from Puhti’s online store. Add the desired products to the shopping cart and complete all the tests at once.

Complete blood count is included in the following test packages:

First, order the tests you need via Puhti. You do not need a doctor’s referral. You can visit one of our many laboratories in Finland. Most of the laboratories also serve customers without an appointment. You will receive an easy-to-read results report.

Complete blood count includes the following values 

Hemoglobin (B-Hb)

Hemoglobin is an iron-rich, oxygen-binding protein that transports oxygen from the lungs to the tissues and carbon dioxide back to the lungs.

In anemia, the level of hemoglobin in the blood is lower than normal. Discovery of anemia is always an anomalous finding. Anemia usually causes fatigue, impaired physical performance, dizziness, and shortness of breath.

Hemoglobin reference values are different for men and women. In Finland, hemoglobin levels are expressed in grams per liter (g/L).

High hemoglobin levels may be due to smoking, dehydration, polycythemia (a condition in which there is an increase in the number of red blood cells per unit volume), chronic oxygen deprivation (e.g., due to high altitude), or EPO hormone.

Hematocrit (B-HKR)

Hematocrit measures the percentage of red blood cells in the blood. Hematocrit is part of the complete blood count, and its values are interpreted in conjunction with other red blood cell values.

Hematocrit indicates the blood’s ability to transport oxygen to the tissues. Hematocrit usually changes at the same rate as hemoglobin. In anemia, the red blood cell count is reduced.

Hematocrit is useful for detecting issues such as excessive red blood cell count, i.e., polycythemia. Polycythemia, in turn, can be caused by blood, lung, or heart disease, or by temporary factors, such as staying in high-altitude areas with thin air.

Red blood cell count (B-Eryt)

Test shows the red blood cell count in the blood, which is linked to, for example, physical endurance, muscle condition, and heart function as they vitally contribute to the supply of oxygen to all tissues. 

Number indicates how many red blood cells there are in a litre of blood.

Mean corpuscular volume of red cells (E-MCV)

The mean corpuscular volume of red blood cells indicates the average size of the red blood cells. The unit of femtolitre (fL) corresponds to 0.000000000000001 litres. In other words, red blood cells are extremely small.

MCV is tested when looking for the causes of diagnosed anaemia. Anaemia is classified as microcytic if the MCV is below reference values, macrocytic if the MCV is above reference values, and normocytic if the MCV falls within the reference values. 

Mean red blood cell hemoglobin mass (E-MCH)

The MCH shows the amount of hemoglobin contained in a single red blood cell. The unit of picogramme (pg) corresponds to 0.000000000001 grammes. The tiny red blood cell cannot hold a lot of hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is a blood protein that allows red blood cells to transport oxygen to the body’s tissues.

MCH is usually measured as part of a complete blood count and is used to help diagnose anaemia. 

Thrombocytes (B-Tromb)

Thrombocytes (B-Tromb) are important for blood clotting. 

People with thrombocytopaenia, or a low platelet count, are susceptible to bleeding. This condition may cause unusually heavy or frequent nosebleeds, bleeding from the gums, spontaneous bruising or increased menstrual bleeding. However, only a significant drop in the platelet count (below 50 x E9/l) results in such symptoms.

A condition in which there are too many platelets in the blood is called thrombocytosis. Platelet count can increase due to various factors that do not constitute an actual disease. Platelet count may increase, for example, in case of sudden bleeding and inflammation. High platelet count usually does not cause any symptoms. 

Leukocytes (fB-Leuk)

Leukocytes, or white blood cells are an important part of the immune system. fB-Leuk test shows the total white blood cell count in the blood. 

White blood cells play a crucial role in our health. White blood cells fight viruses, bacteria, parasites, and other intruders that threaten the health of the body. Their number increases with inflammation. 

A high fB-Leuk value may be due to various reasons. An increase in the number of white blood cells is called leukocytosis. 

A decrease in the number of white blood cells is called leukopaenia. A reduced white blood cell count weakens the body’s defence system. 

Differential count (B-Diffi)

Differential count measures the number of white blood cells in the blood. It measures both absolute numbers and percentages of cells.

There are five types of white blood cells: neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils.

Neutrophils (B-Neut and L-Neut%)

Neutrophils are the most important and common type of white blood cells. They make up an average of 55–70% of all the white blood cells. Unlike some other white blood cells, neutrophils are not limited to a specific part of the bloodstream but can move freely through different tissues in the body. 

The main function of neutrophils is to ingest damaged tissue and pathogens that penetrate the body.

Neutropenia, an abnormally low level of neutrophils in the blood, makes a person more susceptible to bacterial infections. Neutropenia can be caused by some medicines, various viral diseases, or blood diseases. Neutropenia may be acute or chronic.

Neutrophilia, or high levels of neutrophils in the blood, is most commonly caused by a bacterial infection. Other causes may include heart attack and other infarctions, metabolic and endocrine diseases, blood diseases, and some medications. Neutrophil levels may also be elevated by excessive exercise, high stress levels, and smoking.

L-Neut% value shows the percentage of neutrophils in all white blood cells. 

Eosinophils (B-Eos and L-Eos%)

Eosinophils make up an average of 2–4% of all white blood cells.

Eosinophils play a particularly important role in reactions related to allergies, allergic dermatitis, and asthma.

Possible causes of low levels of eosinophils in the blood include stress reaction, Cushing’s syndrome, use of steroids, burns, and acute infections.

L-Eos% test shows the percentage of eosinophils in all white blood cells.

Basophils (B-Baso and L-Baso%)

Basophils are white blood cells that fight parasitic diseases, prevent unnecessary blood clotting, and mediate allergic reactions.

Low basophil count can be caused by acute allergic reactions. Low basophil level also slows down the healing of infections.

In some rare cases, high basophil levels can be caused by blood cancers.

L-Baso% test shows the relative percentage of basophils in lymphocytes. 

Monocytes (B-Monos and L-Monos%)

Monocytes are one of the five types of white blood cells. Monocytes are able to move from blood to tissues and act as phagocytes that break down pathogens and remnants of dead cells.

Monocytosis, a higher than normal monocyte count, can be caused by chronic diseases. 

L-Monos% test shows the relative percentage of monocytes in white blood cells. 

Lymphocytes (B-Ly and L-Ly%)

Lymphocytes make up an average of 20–30% of all white blood cells. They are involved in the identification and destruction of microorganisms, foreign molecules, and cancer cells, and are especially activated in chronic infections. 

Lymphocytosis, a higher than normal lymphocyte count, is usually associated with chronic infections.

Lymphocytopenia, a lower than normal lymphocyte count, is rarely associated with any specific disease. It can be caused by acute or chronic infections, or temporary immune deficiency.

Red cell Distribution Width (RDW)

RDW, or Red Cell Distribution Width, describes the variation of the size of red blood cells.

RDW is determined in connection with the blood count.

Reference values for Complete blood count

Table below summarizes the reference values ​​for a complete blood count for adults.

TestMenWomenUnit
B-Leuk 3,4-8,2 3,4-8,2E9/l
B-Eryt4,3-5,73,9-5,2E12/l
B-Hb134-167117-155g/l
B-HKR 39-5035-46%
E-MCV82-9882-98fl
E-MCH27-3327-33%
B-Trom150-360150-360E9/l
Neutrof40-7540-75%
Lymfos20-4520-45%
Monos2-102-10%
Eosin1-61-6%
Basof0-10-1%
B-Neut1,5-6,71,5-6,7E9/l
B-Lymf1,3-3,61,3-3,6E9/l
B-Monos0,2-0,80,2-0,8E9/l
B-Eos0,04-0,40,04-0,4E9/l
B-Baso0-0,10-0,1E9/l
E-RDWalle 14alle 15%
Reference levels may vary depending on the laboratory and the test analysis method. Puhti samples are taken and analysed at the laboratories of Mehiläinen. 

    Extensive Puhti laboratory package (men) is a great choice when you want to gain more thorough information about the well-being of your body. The Puhti laboratory package will help you check how your body is doing and make better choices for your health. Several tests are included, such as cholesterol, blood glucose, important vitamins, ferritin and testosterone.

    Extensive Puhti laboratory package (women) is a great choice when you want to gain more thorough information about the well-being of your body. The laboratory package will help you check how your body is doing and make better choices for your health. Several tests are included, such as cholesterol, blood glucose, vitamins D and B12, ferritin, and sodium.

    Puhti laboratory package includes many different tests that give you a wide range of information on how your body is doing. It includes blood count, cholesterol, blood glucose, vitamin D, ferritin, inflammatory status and tests of the functioning of the thyroid gland, liver and kidneys.

Monosyytit
Information Article

Monocytes are white blood cells (B-Monos, L-Monos%)

White blood cells are an important part of the human immune system. They protect the body from attacks of bacteria, viruses, and parasites. Bone marrow produces five different types of white blood cells, one of which is the monocyte.

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