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Red Cell Count
Red blood cells (RBCs), also called erythrocytes, are cells that circulate in the blood and carry oxygen throughout the body. The RBC count totals the number of red blood cells that are present in a person’s sample of blood. It is one test among several that is included in a complete blood count (CBC) and is often used in the general evaluation of a person’s health.
Blood is made up of a few different types of cells suspended in fluid called plasma. In addition to RBCs, there are white blood cells (WBCs) and platelets. These cells are produced in the bone marrow and are released into the bloodstream as they mature .
Hemoglobin is the iron-containing protein found in all red blood cells (RBCs) that gives the cells their characteristic red color.
The hemoglobin test measures the amount of hemoglobin in a person’s sample of blood. A hemoglobin level can be performed alone or with a hematocrit, a test that measures the proportion of blood that is made up of RBCs, to quickly evaluate an individual’s red blood cells .
Since a hemoglobin test is often performed as part of a complete blood count (CBC), results from other components are taken into consideration.
Hematocrit is a test that measures the proportion of a person’s blood that is made up of red blood cells (RBCs). Blood consists of RBCs, white blood cells (WBCs), and platelets suspended in a fluid portion called plasma. The hematocrit is a ratio of the volume of red blood cells to the volume of all these components together, called whole blood. The value is expressed as a percentage or fraction. For example, a hematocrit value of 40% means that there are 40 milliliters of red blood cells in 100 milliliters of blood .
Since a hematocrit is often performed as part of a complete blood count (CBC), results from other components are taken into consideration.
Red blood cell indices (MCV / MCH / MCHC / RDW)
Red blood cell indices are calculations that provide information on the physical characteristics of the RBCs:
- Mean corpuscular volume (MCV) is a measurement of the average size of a single red blood cell.
- Mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH) is a calculation of the average amount of hemoglobin inside a single red blood cell.
- Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) is a calculation of the average concentration of hemoglobin inside a single red blood cell.
- Red cell distribution width (RDW) is a calculation of the variation in the size of RBCs.
White Blood Cells
White blood cells, also called leukocytes, are cells that exist in the blood, the lymphatic system, and tissues and are an important part of the body’s defense system.
Blood is made up of a few different types of cells suspended in fluid called plasma. In addition to WBCs, there are red blood cells and platelets. All of these cells are produced in the bone marrow and subsequently released into the blood .
There are five types of WBCs, and these are generally measured in isolation as well as part of the white blood cell analysis: Lymphocytes, Monocytes, Neutrophils, Basophils and Eosinophil’s.
Platelets, also called thrombocytes, are tiny fragments of cells that are essential for normal blood clotting. They are formed from very large cells called megakaryocytes in the bone marrow and are released into the blood to circulate. The platelet count is a test that determines the number of platelets in a person’s sample of blood.