Private Full Blood Count (FBC)

A full blood count is a very useful blood test to have performed if you wish to get a complete overview of your general health. The levels of many different cells and proteins are examined as part of the test. These include white blood cells (WBCs), red blood cells (RBCs), platelets, haemoglobin and haematocrit.

What is the blood made up of?

The blood has an important role not only in carrying oxygen and nutrients to all the tissues, by transporting other cells and proteins to their destinations so they can perform their vital functions. As a result, there are many different components of the blood that can be examined in a blood test to identify a wide range of diseases. Red blood cells contain haemoglobin and act to carry oxygen to the tissues and carbon dioxide away from the tissues to the lungs where it can then be exhaled. A commonly measured parameter alongside the quantity of haemoglobin and white blood cells present is the haematocrit. Haematocrit is the percentage that the red blood cells take up compared to the rest of the blood as a whole. Platelets are used when the blood is required to clot, in the case of a cut or wound so as to limit blood loss. White blood cells are not just of one variety, but there are many different types present. Collectively, they work to fight infection but each type has its own specific function in this general aim. The total collectively can be looked at, or the levels of each different type may be examined to identify more specific immunity problems.

What does the Full Blood Count show?

Tests are used to not only diagnose a wide variety of disease but also monitor the progression and cure of these diseases.  However, many people just have one performed to look at their general overall health. A variety of conditions can be screened for using this type of private blood test, including anaemia, infection, bleeding disorders and many more. A high white blood cell count may occur in instances such as infection or in some blood cancers such as leukaemia. A low white blood cell count may also mean many things, such as an auto-immunity conditions being present or an individual having bone marrow failure, to give two examples. For this reason, if anything is found to be abnormal with a white blood cell count, it is then common for the doctor to advise you to have further testing that looks at the levels of each different type of white blood cell independently. Red blood cell volume decrease usually points to a form of anaemia being present, and this will also be reflected in the haematocrit and haemoglobin test results. With all these results combined, the specific type of anaemia can usually be identified and a treatment recommended. As with the white blood cell testing, platelet changes may also indicate a number of potential culprits for the cause. High platelet counts occur non-pathologically when a individual has been bleeding substantially, but may also be caused by spleen problems or issues with the bone marrow. The causes for decreased platelet numbers are far more varied, with problems ranging from a dietary deficiency to rare inherited disorders such as Wiskott-Aldrich syndrome. The doctor performing the blood test should give you a private consultation should any unusual results arise, but if you then have further concerns it is recommended you seek advice with your local GP and give details of the findings.


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