CBC (Complete Blood Count)

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The word hematocrit means “to separate blood,” a procedure which is followed following the blood draw through the proper use of a centrifuge. Hematocrit is the measurement of the percentage of red blood cells in whole blood. It is an important determinant of anemia (decreased), polycythemia (increased), dehydration elevated), increased R.B.C. breakdown in the spleen (elevated), or possible overhydration (elevated).

Reference Adult Female Range: 37 – 47%
Optimal Adult Female Reading: 42%
Reference Adult Male Range 40 – 54%
Optimal Adult Male Reading: 47
Reference Newborn Range: 50 – 62%
Optimal Newborn Reading: 56


Hemoglobin is the main transport of oxygen and carbon dioxide in the blood. It is composed of globin a group of amino acids that form a protein and heme which contains iron atoms and the red pigment, porphyrin. As with Hematocrit, it is an important determinant of anemia (decreased), dehydration (increased), polycythemia (increased), poor diet/nutrition, or possibly a malabsorption problem.

Reference Adult Female Range: 12 – 16%
Optimal Adult Female Reading: 14
Reference Adult Male Range: 14 – 18%
Optimal Adult Male Reading: 16
Reference Newborn Range: 14 – 20%
Optimal Newborn Reading: 17

MCH (Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin)

Hemoglobin x 10

Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH) gives the average weight of hemoglobin in the red blood cell. Due to its use of red blood cells in its calculation, MCH is not as accurate as MCHC in its diagnosis of severe anemia’s. Decreased MCH is associated with microcytic anemia and increased MCH is associated with macrocytic anemia.

Reference Adult Range: 27 – 33 pg
Optimal Adult Reading: 30

MCHC (Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin Concentration)

Hemoglobin x 100

This test measures the average concentration of hemoglobin in red blood cells. It is most valuable in evaluating therapy for anemia because Hemoglobin and Hematocrit are used, not R.B.C. in the calculation. Low MCHC means that a unit of packed R.B.C.’s contain less hemoglobin than normal and a high MCHC means that there is more hemoglobin in a unit of R.B.C.’s. Increased MCHC is seen in spherocytosis, and not seen in pernicious anemia whereas decreased levels may indicate iron deficiency, blood loss, B6 deficiency of thalassemia.

Reference Adult Range: 32 – 36 %
Optimal Adult Reading: 34
Higher ranges are found in newborns and infants

MCV (Mean Corpuscular Volume)

The average volume or size of a red blood cell. This is a calculated value derived from the Hematocrit and the red cell count. It is useful in the differential diagnosis of Anemia’s. Small RBC (low MCV) are commonly found in Iron Deficiency Anemia while large RBC may be related to a deficiency of Vitamin B12 or Folic Acid. Young RBC in the bloodstream are frequently larger in size so a high MCV may be an indicator the bone marrow is responding to treatment for Anemia or bleeding and creating new RBC at a faster rate.

Reference Adult Range: 86 – 98 Femtoliters.

R.B.C. (Red Blood Cell Count)

Red blood cells main function is to carry oxygen to the tissues and to transfer carbon dioxide to the lungs. This process is possible through the R.B.C. containing hemoglobin which combines easily with oxygen and carbon dioxide.

Reference Adult Female Range: 3.9 – 5.2 mill/mcl
Optimal Adult Female Reading: 4.55
Reference Adult Male Range: 4.2 – 5.6 mill/mcl
Optimal Adult Male Reading: 4.9
Lower ranges are found in Children, newborns and infants

W.B.C. (White Blood Cell Count)

White blood cells main function is to fight infection, defend the body by phagocytosis against invasion by foreign organisms, and to produce, or at least transport and distribute, antibodies in the immune response. There are a number of types of leukocytes (see differential) that are classified as follows:

Band Neutrophiles


Each cell, or leukocyte, has a different job in the body which is explained in the Differential section.

Reference Adult Range: 3.8 – 10.8 thous/mcl
Optimal Adult Reading: 7.3
Higher ranges are found in children, newborns and infants.


Platelets (also known as thrombocytes) are the smallest formed elements of the blood. They are vital to coagulation of the blood to prevent excessive bleeding. Elevated levels suggest dehydration or stimulation of the bone marrow where the cells are produced and decreased levels may indicate an immune system failure, drug reactions, B12 or folic acid deficiency.

Reference Adult Range: 130 – 400 thous/mcl
Optimal Adult Reading: 265
Higher ranges are found in children, newborns and infants.


(usually ordered along with CBC)


Also known as Granulocytes or segmented neutrophils, this is the main defender of the body against infection and antigens. High levels may indicate an active infection, a low count may indicate a compromised immune system or depressed bone marrow (low neutrophil production.

Reference Adult Range: 48 – 73%
Optimal Adult Reading: 60.5
Reference Children’s Range: 30 – 60%
Optimal Children’s Reading: 45


Lymphocytes are involved in protection of the body from viral infections such as measles, rubella, chickenpox, or infectious mononucleosis. Elevated levels may indicate an active viral infection and a depressed level may indicate an exhausted immune system or if the neutrophils are elevated an active infection.

Reference Adult Range: 18 – 48%
Optimal Adult Reading: 33
Reference Children’s Range: 25 – 50%
Optimal Children’s Reading: 37.5


These cells are helpful in fighting severe infections and are considered the bodies second line of defense against infection and are the largest cells in the blood stream. Elevated levels are seen in tissue breakdown or chronic infections, carcinomas, leukemia (monocytic) or lymphomas. Low levels are indicative of a state of health.

Reference Adult Range: 0 – 9%
Optimal Adult Reading: 4.5


Eosinophils are used by the body to protect against allergic reactions and parasites. Therefore, elevated levels may indicate an allergic response. A low count is normal.

Reference Adult Range: 0 – 5%
Optimal Adult Reading: 2.5


Basophilic activity is not fully understood but it is known to carry histamine, heparin and serotonin. High levels are found in allergic reactions, low levels are normal.

Reference Adult Range: 0 – 2%
Optimal Adult Reading: 1