Happy New Year to all!!
Having gained access to all my blood test results via my GP, I realised there was an enormous gap in my knowledge about all the blood test terms.
A lot of people seem to be au fait with it all but maybe others don’t really have much of a clue, like me.
I posted this on MPN Voice as well and was really grateful to discover I’m not the only Dummy in the UK!
I hope some find this helpful. The ranges given can vary from clinic to clinic and country to country, so you may need to allow a little here and there.
UNDERSTANDING YOUR BLOOD TEST RESULTS - FOR DUMMIES LIKE ME!!!
(range 115 - 150)
Is used clinically to determine the presence of anemia, which is
functionally defined as insufficient red blood cell (RBC) mass to adequately
deliver oxygen to peripheral tissues.
Total white blood count (range 4 - 11)
A white blood count measures the number of white cells in your blood.
White blood cells are part of the immune system. They help your body fight off
infections and other diseases. When you get sick, your body makes more
white blood cells to fight the bacteria, viruses, or other foreign substances
causing your illness
Platelet count - observation
(range 150 - 400)
A platelet count is a lab test to measure how many platelets you have in
your blood. Platelets are parts of the blood that helps the blood clot. They
are smaller than red or white blood cells.
Red blood cell count
( range 3.8 - 4.8)
A red blood cell (RBC) count is a blood test that tells you how many red
blood cells you have. Red blood cells contain a substance called
haemoglobin, which transports oxygen around the body.
Haematocrit (range 0.37 - 0.47)
A haematocrit (he-MAT-uh-krit) test measures the proportion of red blood
cells in your blood. Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body.
Having too few or too many red blood cells can be a sign of certain diseases.
The haematocrit test, also known as a packed-cell volume (PCV) test, is a
simple blood test.
Mean cell volume
(range woman 80 -100)
MCV stands for mean corpuscular volume. There are three main types of
corpuscles (blood cells) in your blood–red blood cells, white blood cells, and
platelets. An MCV blood test measures the average size of your red blood
cells, also known as erythrocytes.
An average MCV score is between 80 and 95. If the MCV goes up to an
extreme of 125, it may indicate vitamin B12, folate deficiencies, or cold
agglutinin disease. A higher MCV value indicates that the red blood cells
are larger than the average size.The MCV will be lower than normal when red blood cells are too small. This
condition is called microcytic anemia. Microcytic anemia may be caused by:
iron deficiency, which can be caused by poor dietary intake of iron, menstrual
bleeding, or gastrointestinal bleeding.
Mean cell haemoglobin level (XE2pb)
(range 27 - 33)
You might hear your doctor talk about MCH levels when they explain the
results of certain blood tests. MCH is short for "mean corpuscular
hemoglobin." It’s the average amount in each of your red blood cells of a
protein called hemoglobin, which carries oxygen around your body.
High MCH scores are commonly a sign of macrocytic anemia. This condition
occurs when the blood cells are too big, which can be a result of not having
enough vitamin B12 or folic acid in the body.
A low mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) shows
that someone’s red blood cells do not have enough hemoglobin.
Hemoglobin is an iron-rich protein, and a lack of it may indicate anemia.
Mean cell haemoglobin concentration
(range 27 - 31)
Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) is a lab value found on
a complete blood count (CBC) that describes the average concentration of
hemoglobin in a given volume of red blood cells. Hemoglobin is what
gives red blood cells their color and that allows red blood cells to carry oxygen
to tissues within your body.
(range 1500 - 8000)
A neutrophil count is checked as part of a complete blood count (CBC).
Levels of neutrophils less than 2500 are referred to as neutropenia, though
the degree of decrease is important. An ANC less than 1000 is most serious,
and can seriously predispose someone to infections.
Neutropenia is a blood condition characterized by low levels of neutrophils,
which are white blood cells that protect your body from infections. Without
enough neutrophils, your body can’t fight off bacteria. Having neutropenia
increases your risk for many types of infection.Having a high percentage of neutrophils in your blood is called neutrophilia.
This is a sign that your body has an infection. Neutrophilia can point to a
number of underlying conditions and factors, including: infection, most likely
(range 1000 - 4800]
Doctors refer to a blood test that counts how many lymphocytes are in the
blood as a B and T cell screen. This test measures the levels of the main
types of white blood cells in the body. Lymphocyte count is one part of a
complete blood count (CBC), which is a larger whole blood test.
High lymphocyte blood levels indicate your body is dealing with an infection
or other inflammatory condition. Most often, a temporarily high lymphocyte
count is a normal effect of your body’s immune system working. Sometimes,
lymphocyte levels are elevated because of a serious condition, like leukemia.
Lymphocytopenia, also referred to as lymphopenia, occurs when your
lymphocyte count in your bloodstream is lower than normal. Severe or chronic
low counts can indicate a possible infection or other signficant illness and
should be investigated by your doctor. Lymphocytes are a kind of white blood
(range 200 - 800)
Absolute monocytes are a measurement of a particular type of white
blood cell. Monocytes are helpful at fighting infections and diseases, such as
cancer. Getting your absolute monocyte levels checked as part of a routine
blood test is one way to monitor the health of your immune system and your
When your monocyte level is high — known as monocytosis — it means
your body is fighting something. Some conditions that can cause an increase
in the monocytes in your blood are: viral infections, such as infectious
mononucleosis, mumps, and measles. parasitic infections
A low number of monocytes (monocytopenia) can be caused by anything
that decreases the overall white blood cell count, such as bloodstream
infection, chemotherapy, or a bone marrow disorder. It’s important to speak
with your doctor about what this means and what recommendations he has
for you based on your results
(range less than 500)
An absolute eosinophil count is a blood test that measures the number of
one type of white blood cells called eosinophils. Eosinophils become
active when you have certain allergic diseases, infections, and other medical
conditions.Eosinophilia (e-o-sin-o-FILL-e-uh) is a higher than normal level of eosinophils.
Eosinophils are a type of disease-fighting white blood cell. This condition most
often indicates a parasitic infection, an allergic reaction or cancer.
An abnormally low eosinophil count can be the result of intoxication from
alcohol or excessive production of cortisol, like in Cushing’s disease.
Cortisol is a hormone naturally produced by the body. Low eosinophil counts
may also be due to the time of day.
(range 0 - 0.1)
Normally, basophils make up less than 1 percent of your circulating white
blood cells. A healthy range is 0 to 3 basophils in each microliter of blood. A
low basophil level is called basopenia. It can be caused by infections, severe
allergies, or an overactive thyroid gland.
If your basophil level is low, it may be due to a severe allergic reaction. If
you develop an infection, it may take longer to heal. In some cases, having
too many basophils can result from certain blood cancers. Your doctor can
determine whether your white blood cell count falls within an acceptable range.
An abnormally high basophil level is called basophilia. It can be a sign of
chronic inflammation in your body. Or it can mean that a condition is causing
too many white blood cells to be produced in your bone marrow. Your doctor
can check your levels of basophils by doing a blood test.
Nucleated red blood cell count (range 0)
Nucleated RBC are red blood cells with a nucleus. The nucleus, which
contains DNA, should eject naturally as the cell develops in the bone marrow.
When the nucleus has dissolved, the cell becomes more flexible. It will
squeeze out of portholes in the bone marrow and enter the bloodstream.
Erythrocyte sedimentation rate (range 0 - 15)
Sed rate, or erythrocyte sedimentation rate (ESR), is a blood test that can
reveal inflammatory activity in your body. A sed rate test isn’t a stand-
alone diagnostic tool, but it can help your doctor diagnose or monitor the
progress of an inflammatory disease.
A faster-than-normal rate may indicate inflammation in the body.
Inflammation is part of your immune response system. It can be a reaction to
an infection or injury. Inflammation may also be a sign of a chronic disease,
an immune disorder, or other medical condition.
Sometimes the ESR can be slower than normal. A slow
ESR may indicate a
blood disorder, such as:
Sickle cell anemia
Leukocytosis, an abnormal increase in white blood cells
If your results are not in the normal range, it doesn’t necessarily mean you
have a medical condition that requires treatment. A moderate ESR may
indicate pregnancy, menstruation, or anemia, rather than an inflammatory
disease. Certain medicines and supplements can also affect your results.
These include oral contraceptives, aspirin, cortisone, and vitamin A. Be sure
to tell your health care provider about any drugs or supplements you are
Serum alanine aminotransferase level
(range 0 - 35)
An alanine transaminase (ALT) blood test measures the amount of ALT in
your blood. ALT levels in your blood can increase when your liver is
damaged, so healthcare providers often use an ALT blood test to help assess
the health of your liver.
High levels of ALT may indicate liver damage from hepatitis, infection,
cirrhosis, liver cancer, or other liver diseases. Other factors, including
medicines, can affect your results. Be sure to tell your health care provider
about all the prescription and over-the counter medicines you are taking
Serum alkaline phosphatase level
(range 30 - 100)
An alkaline phosphatase (ALP) test measures the amount of ALP in your
blood. ALP is an enzyme found throughout the body, but it is mostly found in
the liver, bones, kidneys, and digestive system. When the liver is damaged,
ALP may leak into the bloodstream.
Serum total bilirubin level
(range 0 - 17)
This test measures the amount of a substance called bilirubin. This test is
used to find out how well your liver is working. It is often part of a panel of
tests that measure liver function. A small amount of bilirubin in your blood is
normal, but a high level may be a sign of liver disease.
Serum albumin level
The serum albumin test looks at the levels of albumin in a person’s blood.
If the results indicate an abnormal amount of albumin, it may suggest a
problem with the liver or kidneys. It may also indicate that a person has a
nutrient deficiency. Albumin is one of the most abundant proteins found in the
blood.Serum sodium level
(range 132 - 146)
A sodium blood test is a routine test that allows your doctor to see how
much sodium is in your blood. It’s also called a serum sodium test. Sodium
is an essential mineral to your body. It’s also referred to as Na+.
Serum potassium level
(range 3.5 - 5)
Potassium balances the effects of sodium and helps keep fluid levels within a
certain range. Your body should maintain a specific amount of potassium in
the blood, ranging from 3.6 to 5.2 millimoles per liter (mmol/L).
Serum urea level
(range 2.5 - 6.7)
The blood urea nitrogen test, which is also called a BUN or serum BUN
test, measures how much of the waste product you have in your blood. If
your levels are off the normal range, this could mean that either your kidneys
or your liver may not be working properly.
Serum creatinine level
(range 45 - 84)
Creatinine levels in the blood can provide your doctor with information about
how well your kidneys are working…
GFR calculated abbreviated MDRD
(range varies with age)
Your kidneys filter your blood by removing waste and extra water to make
urine. The kidney’s filtration rate, called the glomerular filtration rate (GFR),
shows how well the kidneys are filtering.
Acute kidney injury warning stage
(range < 1)
From April of this year primary care will start receiving Acute Kidney
(AKI) warning stage test results which are generated when a significant
change in creatinine concentration is measured.
Serum C reactive protein level
(range 0 - 9]
A c-reactive protein test measures the level of c-reactive protein (CRP) in your
blood. CRP is a protein made by your liver. It’s sent into your bloodstream in
response to inflammation. Inflammation is your body’s way of protecting your
tissues if you’ve been injured or have an infection
Serum calcium level
(range 2.2 - 2.6)
Serum calcium is a blood test to measure the amount of calcium in the
blood. Serum calcium is usually measured to screen for or monitor bonediseases or calcium-regulation disorders (diseases of the parathyroid gland or
Serum adjusted calcium concentration
(range [2.2 - 2.6)
A calcium test measures the level of calcium in your blood.
Abnormal calcium levels may indicate bone disease or
other medical conditions