What's a CBC? and more

For many Americans fascinated by the proliferation of medical and emergency dramas, the staccato orders of "CBC and chem panel!" are mysterious language known only to the insiders who surround the patient.

Here's a brief translation list of common measurements in the tests used by real as well as TV doctors:

CBC—complete blood count

This basic blood screening test measures hemoglobin, hematocrit, white blood cells, red blood cells and platelets.

Hemoglobin is composed of iron and protein found in red blood cells. It carries oxygen to all the cells in the body. Low hemoglobin can indicate anemia, or iron deficiency, caused by vitamin deficiencies and malnutrition.

Hematocrits measure red cell volume. Low results are another indication of anemia.

White blood cells are infection fighters. Elevated white blood counts may be caused by viral or bacterial infections. Trauma to the body or diseases may increase or decrease the white blood cell count.

Red blood cell count can indicate whether the body is producing enough red cells which transport oxygen to body cells. This count also is an indicator of anemia or blood loss through trauma.

Platelets are the clotting agents in the bloodstream. Cancer and other diseases can reduce platelets, causing the patient to bleed excessively internally or externally. Platelet transfusions can alleviate bleeding.

Chem panel—battery of blood chemistry tests

This group of tests determines the balance of diagnostically important and naturally occurring chemicals in the body:

Glucose measures sugar in the blood. High results can be an indicator of diabetes.

This Draft Has Sidebar Blocks
Sidebar Block 1
Sidebar Block 2
Sidebar Block 3
Sidebar Block 4
Northern Nevada Medical Center is owned and operated by a subsidiary of Universal Health Services, Inc.(UHS), a King of Prussia, PA-based company, that is one of the largest healthcare management companies in the nation.   

Northern Nevada Medical Center
2375 E. Prater Way
Sparks, NV 89434
775-331-7000

PRIVACY POLICY / HIPAA STATEMENT / PHYSICIAN DISCLAIMER
© 2014 Northern Nevada Medical Center. All rights reserved.

Note:The information on this Web site is provided as general health guidelines and may not be applicable to your particular health condition. Your individual health status and any required medical treatments can only be properly addressed by a professional healthcare provider of your choice. Remember: There is no adequate substitution for a personal consultation with your physician. Neither Northern Nevada Medical Center, or any of their affiliates, nor any contributors shall have any liability for the content or any errors or omissions in the information provided by this Web site.      

The information, content and artwork provided by this Web site is intended for non-commercial use by the reader. The reader is permitted to make one copy of the information displayed for his/her own non-commercial use. The making of additional copies is prohibited.