Blood tests can help doctors:
The test we offer is the Full Blood Count (also known as a Complete Blood Count).
A Full Blood Count (FBC) is an easy and very common blood test that screens for certain disorders that can affect your health.
The FBC can help detect blood diseases and disorders, such as anaemia, infections, clotting problems, blood cancers, and immune system disorders. This test measures many different parts of your blood.
An FBC can be part of a routine checkup or if you have unexplained symptoms such as bleeding or bruising. An FBC can help your doctor:
An FBC measures a variety of the blood’s components and their sub-components, i.e:
Haemoglobin is an iron-rich protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen from your lungs to the cells of your body. Low haemoglobin levels may be a sign of anaemia, sickle cell anaemia, thalassemia or other blood disorders.
If you have diabetes, excess glucose in your blood can attach to haemoglobin and raise the level of haemoglobin A1c. This is what a diabetes test screens for – high levels of HbA1c.
Haematocrit is a measure of how much space red blood cells take up in your blood. A high haematocrit level might mean you’re dehydrated. A low haematocrit level might mean you have anaemia. Abnormal haematocrit levels also may be a sign of a blood or bone marrow disorder.
An MCH value refers to the average quantity of haemoglobin present in a single red blood cell. Haemoglobin is the protein in your red blood cells that transports oxygen to the tissues of your body.
Your MCH value is related to two other values:
Your MCH level can indicate underlying health issues. The normal range for MCH is between 27.5 and 33.2 picograms (pg).
An MCH below 27.5 pg is considered low. This means that there’s a low amount of haemoglobin present per red blood cell.
A low MCH value typically indicates the presence of iron deficiency anaemia. Iron is important for the production of haemoglobin. Your body absorbs a small amount of iron that you eat in order to produce haemoglobin. Some of the general causes of iron deficiency include eating a diet that is low in iron, major surgery or trauma, or blood loss.
In more rare cases, low MCH can be caused by a genetic condition called thalassemia. In this condition, production of haemoglobin is limited. This means there aren’t as many red blood cells circulating in your bloodstream.
If you have a low MCH value, you may experience the following symptoms:
An MCH value calculated above 33.2 pg is considered high. This means that there is a larger amount of haemoglobin present per red blood cell.
High MCH value can often be caused by anaemia due to a deficiency of B vitamins, particularly B-12 and folate. Both of these vitamins are required by your body in order to make red blood cells. These types of anaemia can develop if your diet is low in B vitamins or if your body does not absorb B-12 or folate properly. It’s important to be aware of the symptoms of a B-12 deficiency.
If you have a high MCH value, you may experience the following symptoms:
If you have anaemia that’s due to B-12 deficiency, you may also experience:
If you have anaemia due to folate deficiency, you could experience the following additional symptoms:
Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV) is a measure of the average size of your red blood cells. Abnormal MCV levels may be a sign of anaemia or thalassemia.
The Red Cell Distribution Width (RDW) blood test measures the amount of red blood cell variation in volume and size.
You need red blood cells to carry oxygen from your lungs to every part of your body. Anything outside of the normal range in red blood cell width or volume indicates a possible problem with bodily function that in turn may affect oxygen getting to various parts of your body.
However, with certain diseases, you may still have a normal RDW.
Normal red blood cells maintain a standard size of 6 to 8 micrometers (µm) in diameter. Your RDW is elevated if the range of sizes is large.
RDW is not used as an isolated parameter when interpreting an FBC. Rather, it provides shades of meaning in the context of the haemoglobin (hgb) and mean corpuscular value (MCV).
High RDW values may mean you have a nutrient deficiency, anaemia, or other underlying condition.
The RDW test is used to help diagnose types of anaemia and other medical conditions including:
Also known as a peripheral blood smear, this test is included when other results are significantly abnormal. A single drop of your blood is spread in a thin layer on a glass slide then stained for inspection by microscope. Visual inspection by a medical scientist or haematologist is done to look for abnormal or immature cells.
The drop of blood on the slide contains millions of RBCs, thousands of WBCs, and hundreds of thousands of platelets. Under the microscope, the stained WBCs can be easily seen and counted to estimate the number of each type of cell present. In addition, the size, shape and general appearance of the cells can be compared to that of “normal” cells. It is possible to distinguish between the five different types of WBCs and to find their relative percentages by counting 100 consecutive cells. During this examination, the size, shape and colour (indicators of haemoglobin content) of the RBCs can be measured and the number of platelets estimated.
White blood cells help your body fight infection. A FBC measures the number and types of white blood cells in your body. Any abnormal increases or decreases in the number or types of white blood cells could be a sign of infection, inflammation, or cancer.
A White Cell Count (WBC) test indicates the number of white blood cells in your blood. White blood cells protect your body from infection and disease and assist in your immune response.
Abnormal white blood cell levels may be a sign of infection, blood cancer, or an immune system disorder.
Our FBC tests the five main groups of WBC:
Platelets are small blood cells that play an essential role in blood clotting. When you cut yourself, for example, platelets stick together to stop the bleeding. In some cases, platelet abnormalities can be a sign of a bleeding disorder or other health problem.
Platelets are blood cell fragments that help your blood clot. They are vital for ensuring correct blood clotting (coagulation) following injury by helping to seal cuts and blood vessels. A platelet count ensures levels are normal. Abnormal platelet levels may be a sign of a bleeding disorder (not enough clotting) or a thrombotic disorder (too much clotting).
Mean platelet volume (MPV) is a measure of the average size of your platelets. Having a high or low MPV doesn’t mean anything on its own and should be interpreted within the context of other FBC results.
In most cases, your MPV test results is used as an indicator to decide whether or not to do additional testing, such as a bone marrow biopsy.
Also keep in mind that several things can affect your MPV, including living at a high altitude or following a vigorous exercise routine. Make sure you go over your test results with your doctor so you get the full picture.
A high MPV means that your platelets are larger than average. This is sometimes a sign that you’re producing too many platelets.
Platelets are produced in the bone marrow and released into the bloodstream. Larger platelets are usually young and more recently released from the bone marrow. Smaller platelets are more likely to have been in circulation for a few days.
When someone has a low platelet count and a high MPV level, it suggests that the bone marrow is rapidly producing platelets. This may be because older platelets are being destroyed, so the bone marrow is trying to compensate.
Possible cancer marker
Increased MPV is associated with platelet activation, which can happen when platelets encounter tumour byproducts. Still, a high MPV doesn’t mean you have cancer. However, if you have a family history of cancer or other risk factors, your doctor might do some additional testing to make sure there are no other signs.
If you do have cancer, a high MPV may be a warning sign, depending on the results of other blood tests. Platelets can help cancer spread to other parts of the body and promote tumour growth.
A high MPV suggests increased platelet production, which is associated with reduced survival rates in several types of cancer, including:
Keep in mind that MPV only refers to the size of your platelets, not the actual number of them. Your MPV alone doesn’t mean you have anything.
If you’re worried about cancer, familiarise yourself with these early warning signs from the National Cancer Institute:
Depending on your other FBC results, high MPV levels can be an indicator of several conditions, such as:
A low MPV means your platelets are smaller than average. Smaller platelets tend to be older, so a low MPV could mean your bone marrow isn’t producing enough new ones. Again, a low MPV on its own doesn’t mean anything.
Depending on your other FBC results, a low MPV could indicate:
Depending on your lifestyle, a high or low MPV may be completely normal for you. However, based on other results from your FBC, it can signal to your doctor to do additional testing to rule out any possible underlying conditions.
On its own, though, a high or low MPV doesn’t mean anything about your risk of having cancer or a certain type of disease.
Order a Full Blood Count Home Test Kit. Get the convenience of home testing with the reassurance of professional clinical analysis. Your results are delivered quickly and securely online.
Our Full Blood Count home blood test kit checks multiple elements of your blood to assess your general blood & immune health and ability to fight viral & bacterial infection.
This Full Blood Count Test is advised if you:
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