The complete blood count (CBC) is a series of tests that check the cells in the blood. These cells are red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), and platelets (PLTs). The CBC is used to evaluate your overall health and detect a variety of diseases and issues, such as blood viscosity, critical for anyone on testostereone as well as infections, anemia and leukemia.
The CBC tests for three types of cells which are:
Red Blood Cells
Red blood cells, also called erythrocytes, are produced in the bone marrow. They carry oxygen throughout the body due to the protein hemoglobin. Since, on average, a typical RBC only lives for about 120 days new RBC are routinely produced. This is important to replace old or damaged RBC’s as well as to replace any lost through bleeding.
Since RBC’s carry oxygen this is a good place to look if you are suffering from fatigue. If you are low on oxygen carried in your blood you will become tired. This can be due to a variety of reasons, such as vitamin B12 and Folate deficiencies, iron deficiency and a host of other reasons. We can also see levels of Hemoglobin and Hematocrit which tell us how thick the blood is getting and thus relative pressure on the heart and blood vessels.
White Blood Cells
White blood cells, also known as leukocytes, are found in the blood, lymphatic system, and a host of other tissues throughout the body and are the chief players in the immune system. They help fight off infections however, they also play a role in inflammation, and allergic reactions. There are five different categories of WBCs and each has a different role to play in the body. The categories are neutrophils, lymphocytes, basophils, eosinophils, and monocytes.
When we see slightly elevated levels of the different categories we typically can attribute it to something specific for instance:
Neutrophilsand Monocytes are typically elevated in bacterial infections.
Eosinophils and Basophils go up with allergy issues.
Lymphocytes show up for viral infections.
If there is a significant increase in WBC then the concern of leukemia goes up considerably.
Platelets, also known as thrombocytes, are critical for normal blood clotting. When there is an injury causing bleeding, platelets prevent bleeding by adhering to the injury site and clumping together to form a patch or clot. They also release chemical signals that cause clumping of surrounding platelets and this becomes the stable blood clot at the site of the damage that remains in place until the injury heals.
If you have an issues like (thrombocytopenia) that causes you to have low, or dysfunctional, blood platelets you may be at an increased risk of bleeding and bruising too much. On the other hand too many platelets (thrombocytosis) can cause too much clotting.
What is included in a CBC?
A CBC is typically performed using an automated instrument that measures various parameters, including cell counts and the physical features of some of the cells. A standard CBC includes:
White blood cell differential The WBC differential identifies the individual categories of WBC (neutrophils, lymphocytes, monocytes, eosinophils, and basophils). This can be listed as a total number or a fraction of the total WBC.
Mean platelet volume (MPV) is a measurement of the size of platelets.
Platelet distribution width (PDW) It reflects how uniform platelets are in size.
All blood tests give us clues as to the health of a person or a bodily system. If there are any numbers that are out of normal ranges or you have any questions ALWAYS consult your primary care physician. All systems in the body are interconnected so one test result often triggers the need for other tests your primary healthcare provider will know of additional places to look.
What is included in a CMP?
The comprehensive metabolic panel (CMP) is a panel of 14 different tests. These tests track several different levels in the blood.
As the name Metabolic Panel indicates this test looks at the current state of your metabolism. From this test you can tell blood sugar or (glucose), electrolytes, and indications of kidney and liver health. This test is highly important to all athletes and those trying to change their body composition.
The CMP tests for:
Glucose - the primary energy source for the body used primarily by the heart and brain. Without proper levels energy starts to decrease and mental function can deteriorate into complete collapse.
Calcium – A critical element in the body used for heart, nerves, muscles, bones and the formation of blood clots.
Albumin - a protein made in the liver; it accounts for about 60% of the total protein in the blood.
Total Protein - measures albumin as well as all other proteins in blood; proteins are important building blocks for all cells in the body.
Electrolytes—these are minerals that are in the tissues and blood in the form of dissolved salts. Electrolytes help move nutrients into the body's cells and help remove wastes out of the cells. They help maintain a healthy water balance and help stabilize the body's acid-base (pH) level. The 4 tests are commonly associated with electrolytes are:
Sodium - critical for normal function, including nerve and muscle function
Potassium - critical for cell metabolism and muscle function, helping to transmit messages between nerves and muscles
Bilirubin - an orange-yellow pigment, a waste product primarily produced by the normal breakdown of heme; heme is a component of hemoglobin, which is found in red blood cells (RBCs). Bilirubin is ultimately processed by the liver so that it can be removed from the body. Higher levels of this can cause Jaundice if not filtered out of the body fast enough.
What is Included in the Testosterone Lab?
Testosterone is involved in health and well-being, the prevention of osteoporosis and other significant quality of life issues. Insufficient levels of testosterone in men may lead to abnormalities including, anxiety, depression, weight gain, fatigue, erectile dysfunction, brain fog, frailty and bone loss.
Testosterone has also been shown to be critical to the health and well being in women. From muscle building, fat loss, energy, emotional stability, brain function, and overall bodily function.
Testosterone is also the primary sex hormone in men. In men, testosterone plays a key role in the development of reproductive tissues such as prostate and testes, as well as promoting secondary sex characteristics such as increased bone and muscle mass, as well as an increase in body hair growth.
Estrogens are a group of steroids that are responsible for the development and function of reproductive organs, aid in pregnancy, and the formation of secondary sex characteristics in women. Along with another hormone, progesterone, they help regulate the menstrual cycle, are involved in the growth of breasts and the uterus, and help maintain a healthy pregnancy. Though considered the main sex hormones for women, they are also found in men and play a role in bone metabolism and growth in both sexes. Estrogen labs measure one of three types of estrogen: estrone (E1), estradiol (E2), or estriol (E3) in the blood or urine.
Estrone (E1) is directly converted from androstenedione (from the adrenal gland) or indirectly from other androgens. E1 can also be produced by the ovaries and placenta, testicles, and adipose (fat) tissues. E2 and E1 can be converted into each other as needed. E1 is the primary estrogen in men and in post- menopausal women.
Estradiol (E2) is primarily produced in the ovaries in response to stimulation of FSH and LH in pre-menopausal women and in the testicles in men. E2 is converted from E1 in post-menopausal women. It is the most potent estrogen and the one that is present in the highest concentration in non-pregnant, pre-menopausal women. E2 levels vary depending on a woman's age and reproductive status. They are a good marker of ovarian function.
Estriol (E3) is produced by the placenta, with concentrations rising throughout a woman's pregnancy. Increasing levels are an indication of the health of the pregnancy and developing baby. Estriol is part of the second trimester maternal serum screen, a test performed to evaluate fetal risk due to certain chromosomal abnormalities. Very low levels of E3 are present in non-pregnant women or men.
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