How to interpret a blood count: What do the abbreviations mean and what do their values indicate?
The purpose of laboratory blood count analysis is to obtain an accurate and reliable finding that will show if there are any physiological changes in the body.
When it comes to laboratory blood tests, it includes two types of tests: those aimed at examining the type, number, ratio and appearance of blood cell elements (blood count, haematological parameters) and others, which check the biochemical composition of blood and on that basis the work or condition of individual organs and tissues is established.
Whether you are afraid of needles or taking blood, going to the lab is still necessary at almost any diagnosis of the disease. Blood tests clearly show whether the body is healthy, whether there are inflammatory processes, any disease, anemia, infection, nutritional status of the body and exposure to toxic substances and the like.
Complete blood count includes erythrocyte, leukocyte and platelet counts, erythrocyte constants (MCV, MCH, MCHC, RDW), platelet counts (MPV, PDW), differential blood count (leukocyte subtypes: neutrophils, eosinophils, mazosophytes, basophils) , hemoglobin and hematocrit.
So that you do not wonder what the incomprehensible abbreviations are in addition to the paper numbers given to you by the laboratory technician, we advise you to read this text carefully and learn what the reference values of the complete blood count are.
Meaning of abbreviations:
RBC - erythrocytes (red blood cells) carry oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body;
WBC - leukocytes (white blood cells) serve to defend the body from bacteria, viruses and fungi;
PLT - platelets (platelets) participate in the formation of clots and stop bleeding;
Hb - hemoglobin concentration;
Hct - the share of blood cells or hematocrit in the total volume of blood;
MCV - medium volume of erythrocytes;
MCHC - average concentration of hemoglobin in erythrocytes;
RDW - width of erythrocyte distribution, sorting of erythrocytes by size;
MPV - average mean platelet volume.
Erythrocytes, or red blood cells, are blood cells that contain hemoglobin and are involved in the transfer of hemoglobin-bound oxygen from the lungs to other tissues.
Normal values - 3,86 x 1012 / l to 5,08 x 1012 / l for women and 4,34 x 1012 / l to 5,72 x 1012 / l for men.
Decreased values are usually a sign of anemia or blood loss due to bleeding. Elevated values can be caused by conditions of hemoconcentration in the body, in polycythemia, but also in healthy people.
Leukocytes, or white blood cells, form in the bone marrow and protect the body from infection. Participate in the immune response. There are five different types of white blood cells and they are all part of the body's defenses against the invasion of infectious and other harmful substances.
Normal values - 3,9 - 10 × 109 / l
An increased number of leukocytes in the body means a bacterial infection. Decreased leukocyte count indicates viral disease, with the use of some drugs, chemotherapy, leukocytosis, in stressful situations…
Hemoglobin is a component of red blood cells. It carries oxygen from the lungs to the tissues and carbon dioxide from the tissues back to the lungs. With each breath, the blood in the lungs receives oxygen and, thanks to hemoglobin, distributes it to all tissues and organs.
Normal concentration - 110-180 g / I
Decreased concentration indicates anemia. The increased concentration is in the state of hemoconcentration of the organism and in polycythemia.
Hematocrit represents the volume of erythrocytes per unit of whole blood.
Normal values - for women 0.356 - 0.470 L / l and for men 0.41 - 0.53 L / l
Increased hematocrit is seen in dehydration and shock. The hematocrit decreases in pregnancy and decreases with age. It is also reduced in anemia, leukemia, increased thyroid function (hyperthyroidism), cirrhosis of the liver, burns, and infections.
Platelets are cells that participate in blood clotting.
Normal values - 140-450 x 109 / l
Excess platelets cause intense blood clotting and can lead to the formation of blood clots in the cardiovascular system. Platelet deficiency (thrombocytopenia) causes a tendency to bleed, platelets are reduced during chemotherapy, malignant diseases, hepatitis and the like.
Erythrocyte constants are calculated from erythrocyte counts, hemoglobin and hematocrit concentrations and provide information on erythrocyte quality.
MCV (average cell volume) - erythrocyte size - normal values are 81-99 fl;
MCH (average cell hemoglobin) - average amount of hemoglobin in the erythrocyte - normal values are 29-32,9 pg;
MCHC (mean hemoglobin concentration in cells) - average hemoglobin concentration in erythrocytes - normal values are 310-350 g / l;
RDW (width of red blood cell distribution) - distribution of erythrocytes by volume - normal values are 11,5-16,5 percent.
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate
Sedimentation does not directly enter the control of the blood count, but is recommended and is usually performed during hematological analyzes because it indicates the possible existence of the disease and is monitored in all diseases. This value represents the rate at which erythrocytes settle to the bottom of the upright tube.
A normal erythrocyte sedimentation rate rules out disease, while an accelerated rate is an indicator for further testing.
Normal values - 2-12 mm / h
Sedimentation is accelerated in inflammation, cell destruction, poisoning, in pregnancy and postpartum, in TB, rheumatic diseases… Sedimentation is slowed in newborns, polycythemia, congestive heart failure, allergic conditions, certain types of anemia…
Biochemical parameters of the blood
Appearance of the serum - normal: clear and light yellow;
It may be slightly lipemic (slightly cloudy), lipemic (cloudy), and milky lipemic (very cloudy), indicating increased blood fats. This often happens because the patient does not follow the rule - do not take food 12 hours before donating blood. Serum may be red due to haemolysis and jaundice due to elevated bilirubin levels.
Glucose - normal values of 3,5-6,1mmol / l
Increased values occur in diabetics, and decreased in hypoglycemia for various reasons.
Urea - normal values of 1,7-8,3 mmol / l
Creatinine - normal values for men from 62-106; and for women 44-80 umol / l
Elevated values occur in renal disease. Elevated urea and normal creatinine can also be the result of a high-protein diet. Elevated creatinine levels can also be the result of increased physical activity or taking steroids. Decreased values occur in pregnant women and women in general.
Natrium - normal: 139-154 mmol / l. Decreased values in renal patients.
Potassium - normal: 3,8-5,3 mmol / l. Increased values in renal patients.
Condition of the joints
Uric acid - normal values for men from 200-420, and for women 140-340 umol / L
Increased values occur in gout (deposition of uric acid crystals in the joints);
Decreased concentration has no diagnostic significance.
Cholesterol - Recommended <5,2; High> 6,2 mmol / l
HDL cholesterol (good) - Recommended> 1,54; Low <1,0 mmol / l
Reduced HDL cholesterol levels are of diagnostic importance. In that case, there is an increased risk of developing cardiovascular disease. The higher the HDL cholesterol levels, the better, because this cholesterol "cleanses" the blood vessels.
LDL cholesterol (bad) - Recommended <2,6; High> 4,1 mmol / l
Elevated values are usually associated with poor diet and stress. This increases the risk of cardiovascular disease, especially atherosclerosis.
Triglycerides - Recommended <1,7; High> 2,3 mmol / l
Elevated values are usually a sign of non-compliance with the rule not to take food 12 hours before blood draw. Decreased values have no diagnostic value.
OTHER - normal value of 8-41 IJ / I
Increased values indicate acute liver damage, most often caused by antibiotic therapy, consumption of carbonated beverages and the like.
AST - normal value of 7-38 IJ / I
Elevated values indicate significant liver damage or other diseases (for example, some muscle diseases);
Gamma GT - normal value for men from 8-40; and for women 5-35IJ / I
Elevated values are more common in alcoholics and are a sign of liver damage.
Total bilirubin - Normal values of 1,1-18,8 umol / l
Elevated values occur with liver damage and bile duct obstruction. Decreased values have no diagnostic value.
Alkaline phosphatase - Normal value for adults 0-270; children up to 810 IJ / I
One form of alkaline phosphatase participates in bone building. Elevated values may indicate increased bone breakdown and the possible development of osteoporosis. In developing children, the value of this parameter is increased.
S - alpha amylase - normal: 28-100 IJ / I
U - alpha amylase - normal: -450 IJ / I
Elevated levels indicate impaired pancreatic function.
Hardware - normal for men from 10,6-28,3; for women 6,6-26,0 umol / l
Together with hemoglobin, erythrocytes, and parameters that determine erythrocyte morphology (MCV, MCH, and MCHC), it provides insight into bone marrow condition. Determination of iron alone has no bearing on the diagnosis of anemia.
Other blood parameters
Fibrinogen - normal 2-4 g / l
This is a non-specific parameter. It is increased in acute and chronic diseases, malignant diseases, a number of diseases, various inflammations, etc. Decreased values have no diagnostic value.
Proteins - normal 66-87 g / l
Decreased values are a sign of impaired synthetic liver function, except in pregnancy when decreased values often occur. Elevated values may indicate problems with renal dysfunction.
(PT) - Protombin time - normal <1,3 INR
PT is determined in preoperative patients as well as in patients on anticoagulant therapy when the expected values are from 2,0 to 4,5 INR.