Full blood count test (FBC) is a test used to check the overall health of a person. An FBC is arguably one of the simplest but most revealing blood tests.
The result of an FBC test can indicate a variety of health conditions like anaemia, bleeding/clotting disorder or infections. In a full blood count, the following parameters are looked at.
There are four components of the blood known as
Each of these components has a standard level in the blood and measuring each of them, and their sub-groups is vital in diagnosing a wide range of diseases
Anaemia is a common blood condition characterised by a reduced level of haemoglobin or red blood cells in the blood. The level of the RBCs is measured using two main parameters— haemoglobin and haematocrit levels. The size of the RBCs is measured using the mean corpuscular volume (MCV). MCV determines how healthy your red blood cells are. An increased MCV level means that your red blood cells are swollen due to excessive intake of alcohol.
The RBCs are responsible for carrying and storing oxygen in the blood. Low levels of RBCs mean that your essential tissues and organs may not receive enough oxygen, which is necessary for carrying out important chemical reactions capable of releasing energy.
There are different types of anaemia, but the most common is the iron-deficient anaemia which means that iron is lacking in the body due to either insufficient iron in the diet or the inability of the body to absorb the available iron leading to reduced red blood cells in the body.
Anaemia due to iron deficiency expresses the following symptoms
The size of the RBCs is also used as an indicator of iron deficiency anaemia.
If your FBC test result shows that you are anaemic, you will need to carry out a further test that measures your ferritin levels to confirm the diagnosis.
Other common causes of anaemia include deficiency in vitamin B12 and folate, so if you have anaemic-like symptoms, you’ll need to run a full blood count test alongside vitamin B12 and folate blood tests. These three blood tests are usually sufficient to reveal the cause of anaemia, butif none of them discovers the cause of the anaemia, you will have to perform a colonoscopy or endoscopy to eliminate internal bleeding due to stomach ulcer.
Measuring the level of blood platelets during a full blood count can help in the diagnosis of blood clotting or coagulation disorders. Blood clotting is a process that prevents excessive bleeding whenever blood vessels are injured. Several blood proteins, like fibrin, work together with the platelets to form a mesh-work around the injured blood vessel to prevent excess blood loss.
Blood clotting is an essential body process, but if the blood clots easily and does not dissolve properly as the blood is being transported around the body, it may limit or block blood flow.
When a blood-clot forms in the vein, it is known as thrombus or venous thromboembolism while blood-clots in other small blood vessels are called Embolism. These two conditions are dangerous and require immediate medical treatment.
There are two common blood clotting conditions
Pulmonary embolism usually results from a DVT travelling from the veins in the leg to the heart and lungs. About 10% of pulmonary embolism originates from a DVT.
The following are high-risk factors for developing blood clots
If you think you have a blood clotting disorder, it's advisable to quickly get a full blood count done to check if your platelets are within the normal range.
At London GP clinic, we can also carry out Pre-travel DVT profile during your full blood count test to check if you are at risk of having blood clots, especially before a long-haul flight.
If you are experiencing the symptoms specific to DVT or PE, we recommend that you immediately go to a hospital for an ultrasound investigation or an anticoagulant treatment.
Platelets disorders such as malfunctioning or low-level platelets can cause bleeding or haemorrhaging diseases. In this condition, the platelets are unable to function properly, leading to the slow formation of clotting and excessive bleeding.
Bleeding-related symptoms include
Thrombocytopenia is the deficiency of blood platelets leading to the symptoms listed above. It can be caused by an autoimmune condition known as lupus (rheumatoid arthritis) or other unknown causes.
Other bleeding disorders include Von Willebrand disease and Haemophilia, which are both inherited from parents.
Generally, haemorrhaging is caused by factors such as
Measuring the level of white blood cells during a full blood count can tell if there is any form of infection in the body. High levels of WBCs, also known as leucocytes, is an indication of an infection.
The various types of white blood cells are measured during a full blood count.
The information gotten from FBC can tell you a lot about your general health, but you will have to see our expert GP before the test. This consultation comes with a fee of £65, excluding the fee for the test.
You can visit our clinic at Suite 15, 117A Harley Street, London, W1G 6AT for your full blood count test or call 020 70434318to book an appointment. At London GP Clinic, we perform FBC at £53.60, and you should expect your result in 4 – 6 hours.