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A Full Blood Count (FBC) test, also commonly referred to as a Complete Blood Count (CBC) test, is a very common and standard blood test that is used to evaluate the overall health of a person. This test is commonly ordered to check for abnormalities or imbalances in the blood. An FBC test measures various blood markers including red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. The results of this test can provide valuable information about your overall health and help in the diagnosis of a wide range of medical conditions.
Blood markers included in an FBC blood test
The following are the markers that are typically tested in an FBC blood test:
- Red Blood Cells (RBCs) : Red blood cells are responsible for carrying oxygen throughout the body. An FBC test measures the number of red blood cells in the blood, as well as their size and shape. Abnormalities in red blood cells can indicate anemia, a condition in which the body does not have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to the tissues.
- White Blood Cells (WBCs) : White blood cells are an important part of the immune system and help to fight off infections. An FBC test measures the number of white blood cells in the blood. Abnormalities in white blood cells can indicate an infection, an autoimmune disorder, or certain types of cancer.
- Platelets : Platelets are small cells that help to form blood clots. An FBC test measures the number of platelets in the blood. Abnormalities in platelet levels can indicate a bleeding disorder or a blood clotting disorder.
- Hemoglobin (Hb) : Hemoglobin is a protein found in red blood cells that carries oxygen from the lungs to the tissues. An FBC test measures the level of hemoglobin in the blood. Abnormalities in hemoglobin levels can indicate anemia, a condition in which the body does not have enough red blood cells to carry oxygen to the tissues.
Now let’s explore the four reasons to have an FBC blood test.
Reason 1 – Assess Health
An FBC test can provide valuable information about a person’s overall health. By measuring blood cell counts and other markers, an FBC test can detect early signs of a medical condition or identify imbalances that may require further investigation.
Reason 2 – Diagnose a medical condition
Another reason to have an FBC test is to help diagnose a medical condition. Abnormalities in blood cell counts can indicate a variety of medical conditions, such as leukemia, lymphoma, or an autoimmune disorder (see list below). An FBC test can help a healthcare provider make an accurate diagnosis and develop an appropriate treatment plan.
Full blood count testing can be used to look for:
- causes of tiredness or weakness
- bleeding or clotting problems
- exposure to toxic substances
- response to certain treatments
- vitamin or mineral deficiencies
Reason 3 – Monitor a medical condition
One of the most common reasons for having an FBC test is to monitor a medical condition. For example, if a person has anaemia, a healthcare provider may order an FBC test to monitor their red blood cell levels and determine if treatment is necessary.
Reason 4 – Monitor medication side effects
Certain medications can affect blood cell counts, and an FBC test can help monitor for any potential side effects. For example, chemotherapy drugs can affect red and white blood cell counts, and an FBC test can help healthcare providers monitor a person’s blood cell levels during treatment.
In summary, a Full Blood Count FBC blood test is a valuable tool that can provide important information about your overall health. This standard blood test measures various markers, including red blood cells, white blood cells, platelets, and hemoglobin. An FBC test can be used to monitor and diagnose medical conditions, assess overall health, and monitor medication side effects. If you have concerns about your health or are experiencing any symptoms, talk to your doctor about whether an FBC test may be appropriate for you.