Gran CBC – Your Complete Blood Count, Explained

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  • Blood test. Your Gran CBC (Granulocytes from your Complete Blood Count) is the result of a blood test that tells your doctor a number of things, including your cell count for each blood cell type, your concentrations of hemoglobin, and your gran CBC count. It’s a quick and easy procedure. A nurse, such as those at Madison Memorial Hospital in Rexburg, will insert a needle into the vein of your arm and draw a small sample of your blood, to be sent to the lab for analysis. You can eat and drink on the day of your test like you normally would unless you’re having some other test or procedure performed on the same day.
  • Types of cells. There are three main types of cells circulating in your bloodstream – white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. If you have a particularly high or low count of any of these three, it could be an indicator of one or more forms of disease or infection.
  • The impact of chemotherapy. Because chemotherapy can directly affect healthy cells, including the cells in your blood, your CBC is checked before each chemo treatment. In analyzing the results of your blood test, we’ll be looking for a number of other key markers, some of which may include the following:
  • Granulocytes (GRAN), also known as ANC (Absolute Neutrophil Count). About two-thirds of your white blood cells have granules (small particles) in them. These cells are called granulocytes. They’re formed in your bone marrow, and they’re both short-lived and highly mobile. Of these granulocytes, the most abundant type, called neutrophils, are often the first responders to areas of inflammation within your body. They follow chemical trails to migrate through your blood vessels in order to fight directly against infections and other causes of inflammation, often within minutes of the initial trauma. So if your CBC shows an increased neutrophil count, it may be due to infection. Likewise, a low neutrophil number might indicate a weakening of your immune system.
  • Hematocrit (HCT). Also called packed cell volume (PCV), this number indicates how much of your total blood volume is comprised specifically of red blood cells. A low score indicates that you might not be getting enough iron. A high score could result if you’re dehydrated, or it could indicate another condition. Normal range: 41.5%-50.4% for men, and 36.9%-44.6% for women.
  • Hemoglobin. This is the protein in your blood which actually holds onto the oxygen. Your CBC measures not only the hemoglobin in your red blood cells but the overall amount of hemoglobin, in grams per deciliter, in your blood. A low number suggests the possibility of the presence of anemia. Normal range: 14-17.5 grams per deciliter (gm/dL) for men, and 12.3-15.3 gm/dL for women.
  • Mean cell hemoglobin (MCH). The average amount of hemoglobin per red blood cell.
  • Mean cell hemoglobin concentration (MCHC). A measure of the average concentration of hemoglobin in your red blood cells.
  • Mean cell volume (MCV). The average size of a red blood corpuscle (cell). If your red blood cells are on the large side, you might be low in vitamin B12 or folates. A smaller size could point to a specific type of anemia. Normal range: 80-96.
  • Platelets. Also called thrombocytes. A low volume of platelets could point to the difficulty in clotting and might be caused by any of a large number of factors. Similarly, a high platelet count could potentially be a precursor to thrombosis, in which blood clots interrupt the flow of blood in the circulatory system. Normal range: 150,000-450,000 platelets/mcL.
  • Red blood cell count (erythrocytes). A low RBC could indicate iron deficiency (anemia), which could be coupled with physical weakness symptoms since red blood cells are the cells that carry oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body. Your CBC includes analysis of the average size of your red blood cells, the amount of hemoglobin in them, and the concentration of hemoglobin among all of them.
  • Red blood cell distribution width (RDW). A measurement of how much your red blood cells vary in size and weight. Certain disorders, including vitamin deficiencies and a lack of iron, can cause significant variation. Red blood cells are normally fairly consistent in their size and weight. Normal range: 4.5 million-5.9 million cells per microliter (cells/mcL) for men, and 4.1 million-5.1 million cells/mcL for women.
  • Reticulocyte count. A measurement of the number of new red blood cells in your body.
  • White blood cell count (leukocytes). A high WBC might mean that your body is fighting an infection. It could also indicate the possibility of the presence of leukemia. In contrast, a low WBC could mean your body is especially susceptible to infections. Normal range: 4,5000-10,000 cells per microliter (cells/mcL).
  • White blood cell differential. There are five types of white blood cells: neutrophils (described above), lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils. This measurement shows how many you have of each type.
  • Interpretation and further testing. It’s important to keep in mind that your CBC results should be properly interpreted by qualified medical professionals such as the caregivers at Madison Memorial Hospital and that any of the above-mentioned abnormalities may or may not be caused by any of the above indicators. Also, the above ranges are general, and your own gran CBC results should have a “reference range” column, which should be your primary source of understanding whether your results fall within normal levels, based on how your specific lab measures and reports on these parameters. Your doctor at Madison Memorial in Rexburg will know whether additional testing and diagnosis are merited, based on the outcome of your specific test.
  • Hematocrit (HCT). Also called packed cell volume (PCV), this number indicates how much of your total blood volume is comprised specifically of red blood cells. A low score indicates that you might not be getting enough iron. A high score could result if you’re dehydrated, or it could indicate another condition. Normal range: 41.5%-50.4% for men, and 36.9%-44.6% for women.
  • Hemoglobin. This is the protein in your blood which actually holds onto the oxygen. Your CBC measures not only the hemoglobin in your red blood cells but the overall amount of hemoglobin, in grams per deciliter, in your blood. A low number suggests the possibility of the presence of anemia. Normal range: 14-17.5 grams per deciliter (gm/dL) for men, and 12.3-15.3 gm/dL for women.
  • Mean cell hemoglobin (MCH). The average amount of hemoglobin per red blood cell.
  • Mean cell hemoglobin concentration (MCHC). A measure of the average concentration of hemoglobin in your red blood cells.
  • Mean cell volume (MCV). The average size of a red blood corpuscle (cell). If your red blood cells are on the large side, you might be low in vitamin B12 or folates. A smaller size could point to a specific type of anemia. Normal range: 80-96.
  • Platelets. Also called thrombocytes. A low volume of platelets could point to the difficulty in clotting and might be caused by any of a large number of factors. Similarly, a high platelet count could potentially be a precursor to thrombosis, in which blood clots interrupt the flow of blood in the circulatory system. Normal range: 150,000-450,000 platelets/mcL.
  • Red blood cell count (erythrocytes). A low RBC could indicate iron deficiency (anemia), which could be coupled with physical weakness symptoms since red blood cells are the cells that carry oxygen from the lungs to other parts of the body. Your CBC includes analysis of the average size of your red blood cells, the amount of hemoglobin in them, and the concentration of hemoglobin among all of them.
  • Red blood cell distribution width (RDW). A measurement of how much your red blood cells vary in size and weight. Certain disorders, including vitamin deficiencies and a lack of iron, can cause significant variation. Red blood cells are normally fairly consistent in their size and weight. Normal range: 4.5 million-5.9 million cells per microliter (cells/mcL) for men, and 4.1 million-5.1 million cells/mcL for women.
  • Reticulocyte count. A measurement of the number of new red blood cells in your body.
  • White blood cell count (leukocytes). A high WBC might mean that your body is fighting an infection. It could also indicate the possibility of the presence of leukemia. In contrast, a low WBC could mean your body is especially susceptible to infections. Normal range: 4,5000-10,000 cells per microliter (cells/mcL).
  • White blood cell differential. There are five types of white blood cells: neutrophils (described above), lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils. This measurement shows how many you have of each type.
  • Interpretation and further testing. It’s important to keep in mind that your CBC results should be properly interpreted by qualified medical professionals such as the caregivers at Madison Memorial Hospital and that any of the above-mentioned abnormalities may or may not be caused by any of the above indicators. Also, the above ranges are general, and your own gran CBC results should have a “reference range” column, which should be your primary source of understanding whether your results fall within normal levels, based on how your specific lab measures and reports on these parameters. Your doctor at Madison Memorial in Rexburg will know whether additional testing and diagnosis are merited, based on the outcome of your specific test.

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