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Small blood count: This is what your lab values tell you!

According to ancient tradition, blood is considered the seat of life. Our ancestors held him responsible for magical powers, noble lineage or decisive character traits. They spoke of bad blood, blue blood, or strong blood, and defined it as one of the four lifebloods.

Even if their apparent knowledge of the human body had some gaps at the time, they were right about one thing even in the Middle Ages: blood is of incomparable significance for our health. It fulfills numerous tasks that are essential for the maintenance of our life processes: It transports oxygen as well as nutrients to the cells and helps in the removal of metabolic waste products, it supports the immune system in the defense against foreign bodies as well as antigens, it regulates the body temperature through constant circulation, it supports our lungs in breathing as well as the even distribution of oxygen and it closes open wounds through blood clotting processes.

Our blood is undeniably one of the most important substances in our body. Therefore, the correct composition of our blood is essential for its functioning and survival.

But what happens when the ratio of blood cells is out of balance? And how do we even know that our blood levels are out of whack?

The answer to this is quite simple: by regularly checking the blood values as part of a small blood count. And we at Probatix explain the best way to check it.

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Indications for laboratory analysis

The small blood count is one of the most common screening tests ordered by physicians. The reason for this is that many diseases lead to specific changes in the number or ratio of blood cells, which makes the laboratory values very informative.

Therefore, it is performed both as part of the normal routine examination and for targeted diagnosis of symptomatic complaints. The most common reasons for ordering a small blood count include the following indications:
– Inflammations and infections
– Anemia (anemia)
– Polyglobulia (increased number of red blood cells)
– Leukemia (increased number of white blood cells)
– Tumors
– Blood clotting disorder
– Monitoring of drug therapy
– Pre-surgery examination
In addition, a small blood count is also frequently ordered for differential diagnosis when nonspecific symptoms are present. This is the case, for example, when the patient complains of recurrent or persistent fatigue, listlessness, shortness of breath, exhaustion, headaches, difficulty concentrating, sleep disturbances, loss of appetite, or dizzy spells. A CBC, on the other hand, is prescribed when an infection is suspected, as the various leukocytes are examined in this context.

Understanding laboratory values correctly: Parameters of the small blood count

A small blood count provides the physician with an overview of the number of individual blood cells. In this standard examination, red blood cells (erythrocytes), white blood cells (leukocytes) and blood platelets (thrombocytes) are measured. In addition, other laboratory values (MCV, MCHC and MCH) are measured by the percentage of red blood pigments (hemoglobin) and the volume percentage of red blood cells (hematocrit).
– Ery or RBC: Red blood cells that carry oxygen to our cells and carbon dioxide back to the lungs.
– Leuk or WBC: White blood cells, which are responsible for the defense against pathogens.
– Thrombo, PLT or THRO: Platelets that participate in blood clotting and wound healing.
– Hk, Hct or Hkt: Hematocrit value representing the ratio between liquid (blood plasma) and solid (blood cells) components in the blood.
– Hg, Hgb or Hb: Hemoglobin, which has the task of binding oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.
– MCH, MCHC and MCV: Different values that describe the properties of red blood cells in more detail.
– Retis, Retr: Reticulocytes that signal whether a process is in its early stages or is already subsiding.

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Parameter

Men

Women

Erythrocytes

4.1-5.7 million/μl

3.8-5.0 million/μl

Leukocytes

3,700-10,100/μl

3,700-10,100/μl

Platelets

150,000-361,000/μl

150,000-361,000/μl

Hemoglobin

13.1-16.8 g/dL

11.6-15.1 g/dL

Hematocrit

38-49 %

34-44 %

MCV

81-99 fl

81-99 fl

MCH

27-34 pg (1.6-2.1 fmol)

27-34 pg (1.6-2.1 fmol)

MCHC

32-36 g/dL (19.8-22.3 mmol/l)

32-36 g/dL (19.8-22.3 mmol/l)

A small blood count gives the doctor an overview of the number of individual blood cells. In this standard examination, the red blood cells (erythrocytes), the white blood cells (leukocytes) and the blood platelets (thrombocytes) are measured. In addition, other laboratory values (MCV, MCHC and MCH) are measured by the proportion of red blood pigments (hemoglobin) and the volume proportion of red blood cells (hematocrit).
– Ery or RBC: Red blood cells that carry oxygen to our cells and carbon dioxide back to the lungs.
– Leuk or WBC: White blood cells, which are responsible for the defense against pathogens.
– Thrombo, PLT or THRO: Platelets, which are involved in blood clotting and wound healing.
– Hk, Hct or Hkt: Hematocrit value, which represents the ratio between liquid (blood plasma) and solid (blood cells) components in the blood.
– Hg, Hgb or Hb: Hemoglobin, which has the task of binding oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood.
– MCH, MCHC and MCV: Various values that describe the properties of red blood cells in more detail.
– Retis, Retr: Reticulocytes, which signal whether a process is in the early stages or has already subsided.

Further steps: inference of common diseases

Abnormal blood values do not necessarily indicate an illness. Often the reason for the peculiarity is much more banal: Daily fluctuations, medication, stress, physical exertion, alcohol, meals, menstruation and pregnancy can also influence this. In order to keep the error rate as low as possible, you should come to the blood analysis on an empty stomach and inform your doctor about all potential confounding factors. Other minor causes are temporary vitamin and iron deficiencies or acute infections, which also cause blood values to fluctuate. However, both causes are easily remedied in many cases by automatically resolving the infection or by prescribing replacement drugs (such as iron tablets).
Abnormal blood values do not always have to prove a disease, but can be an important diagnostic tool for it. If the measured blood values are outside the reference range, this can indicate the following causes:

Patient Data

Parameter

Values too low

Values too high

Erythrocytes

  • Anemia
  • Oxygen deficiency
  • due to lung
  • or heart disease
  • Hormonal disorders
  • Kidney tumors
  • Blood doping
  • Leukemia

Leukocytes

  • Virus infection
  • Immunodeficiencies
  • Folic acid, vitamin B12
  • Deficiency
  • Bone marrow damage
  • Acute and chronic infections caused by bacteria and fungi
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Leukemias

Platelets

  • Cytostatic therapy
  • Leukemia
  • Hyperfunction of the spleen
  • Bone marrow damage
  • Autoimmune diseases
  • Thrombocythemia
  • Polycythemia
  • chronic myeloid leukemia
  • Inflammations
  • Tumors
  • Anemia
  • Splenectomy
  • OPs

Hemoglobin

  • Anemia
  • Kidney disease gastrointestinal
  • Disease
  • Smoking
  • Blood doping
  • Oxygen deficiency

Hematocrit

  • Anemia
  • Smoking
  • Blood doping
  • Oxygen deficiency

MCV

  • Iron Deficiency Anemia
  • Vitamin B6 deficiency
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Folic acid deficiency
  • Iron deficiency therapy
  • increased reticulocytes

MCH

  • Iron Deficiency Anemia
  • Vitamin B6 deficiency
  • Vitamin B12 deficiency
  • Folic acid deficiency
  • Iron deficiency therapy

MCHC

  • Iron Deficiency Anemia
  • Vitamin B6 deficiency
  • Spherocytosis
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Costs & procedure of a blood draw

If there is a medical reason to perform a blood count, the costs are usually covered by the statutory health insurance. Similarly, general screening examinations (such as the U-examination, the J-examination and the basic check every three years from 35) also include a small blood count.

The situation is different, however, for self-pay patients who want to check their health status without specific indicators. Here, the cost of a small blood count is about 100 €, with the laboratory analysis, the transport costs, the medical evaluation and the discussion of the findings.
The blood sample itself is usually taken in the morning so that the last meal was at least eight hours ago. For this purpose, an appointment is made with the family doctor, specialist or otherwise trained professional. This is because blood collection can take place not only in the doctor’s office but also in pharmacies, medical laboratories, or blood collection centers of the DRK.

The actual blood draw usually takes only a few minutes. The blood is taken from the crook of the arm, the tubes are labeled with the customer’s data, and the sample is then sent to the laboratory. After approximately one to two days, the physician receives the results and can discuss them with the patient at a follow-up appointment. In particular, blood values that exceed the reference range are examined more closely, and the resulting possible follow-up examinations are clarified.

Conclusion: The small blood count as an important mirror of your health

Taking a small blood count is a simple step that can go a long way. With it, the state of health can be checked, the cause of possible complaints can be found and the timely therapy of diseases can be initiated.

It is therefore of enormous importance in the case of acute complaints and as a regular preventive examination. The only problem here is often that this actually so small step is associated with so much unnecessary effort. We at Probatix have therefore come up with an alternative because we don’t want you to save on your health, but on your time.

Self-payers who are symptom-free and would like to remain so, benefit most from this. We can help you carry out regular blood tests more quickly, flexibly, and without complications. For this purpose, we at Probatix work closely with physicians and accredited laboratories to verify the evaluations and thus detect diseases earlier.

With the help of the software, the results can be called up on the smartphone regardless of location and time, which significantly reduces travel, waiting times, and telephone calls to discuss the results.

So that you can check your health easily and get well even faster.

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