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You are here : 3-RX.com > Medical Encyclopedia > Tests and Exams > CBC: Results and Values


Alternate Names : Complete Blood Count

CBC | Preparation & Expectations | Results and Values

What do the test results mean?

Normal values are as follows:

  • RBC (value changes with altitude): Male, 4.7-6.1 million cells/mcl; female, 4.2-5.4 million cells/mcl
  • WBC: 4,500-10,000 cells/mcl
  • hematocrit (varies with altitude): Male, 40.7-50.3%; female, 36.1-44.3%
  • hemoglobin (varies with altitude): Male, 13.8-17.2 gm/dcl; female, 12.1-15.1 gm/dcl
  • MCV: 80-95 femtoliter
  • MCH: 27-31 pg/cell
  • MCHC: 32-36 gm/dl
  • Abbreviations:

  • cells/mcl = cells per microliter
  • gm/dl = grams per deciliter
  • pg/cell = picograms per cell
  • Abnormally high numbers of red blood cells may be a sign of the following:

  • congenital heart disease, which is a heart condition that you are born with
  • cor pulmonale, which means a condition in which the right lower part of the heart becomes swollen
  • dehydration, which is a lack of fluid in the body that can occur with conditions such as severe diarrhea
  • kidney disease with high levels of erythropoietin, a hormone produced in the kidney
  • low oxygen tension in the blood
  • pulmonary fibrosis, which is a hardening of the lung tissue that can make hard for you to breathe
  • Abnormally low numbers of red blood cells, or anemia, may be a sign of the following:

  • blood loss
  • bone marrow failure
  • erythropoietin deficiency, which occurs when the kidney does not produce enough of the hormone
  • hemolysis, which is the destruction of RBCs from a transfusion reaction
  • hemorrhage, which is a loss of blood
  • leukemia, which is cancer of the blood and bone marrow
  • malnutrition
  • multiple myeloma, a cancer of the bone marrow
  • overhydration, which means absorption of too much fluid in your body tissues
  • Abnormally low numbers of white blood cells may be a sign of the following:

  • bone marrow failure
  • collagen-vascular diseases, which are any diseases that cause the small blood vessels and tissue to swell
  • exposure to radiation
  • liver or spleen disease
  • the presence of substances toxic to cells
  • High numbers of white blood cells may point to the possible presence of the following:

  • emotional or physical stress
  • infections
  • inflammatory diseases
  • leukemia
  • tissue damage
  • High hematocrit may be a sign of the following:

  • burns
  • dehydration
  • diarrhea
  • eclampsia, a serious condition involving high blood pressure, protein in the urine and swelling of your face and hands during pregnancy that can lead to seizures and coma
  • erythrocytosis, which is an unhealthy rise in the number of red blood cells
  • polycythemia vera, which is an increase in the cell mass or red blood cell levels in your blood
  • shock
  • Low hematocrit may indicate that one of these conditions is present:

  • anemia
  • blood loss
  • bone marrow failure
  • hemolysis, which is the separation of hemoglobin, the oxygen-carrying component of red blood cells, from the red blood cells
  • leukemia
  • malnutrition
  • multiple myeloma
  • overhydration
  • rheumatoid arthritis, a long-term disease in which the connective tissue is destroyed
  • specific nutritional deficiency
  • Low hemoglobin values may indicate:

  • anemia
  • blood loss

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    CBC: Preparation & Expectations


    Author: David T. Moran, MD
    Reviewer: Sandy Keefe, RN, MSN
    Date Reviewed: 07/27/01

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