Complete Blood Count (aka CBC, CBC w/diff)
A CBC is a count of red and white blood cells and platelets in a specific amount of blood. It also measures the amount of hemoglobin and hematocrit. Hemoglobin is a protein that carries oxygen from the lungs to tissues through the body, and brings carbon dioxide from those tissues back to the lungs. Hematocrit measures the percentage of volume of whole blood that is made up of red cells. A CBC can be used for screening, diagnosis or management of certain diseases such as anemia, infection and certain types of cancer.
Increased cholesterol in the blood is a major cause of heart disease. When there is too much cholesterol, plaque forms that can block the arteries; too much plaque may lead to heart attacks or strokes. There are two types of cholesterol:
- High-Density Lipoprotein (HDL): HDL is the good cholesterol because it helps remove cholesterol from the arteries
- Low-Density Lipoprotein (LDL): LDL is the bad cholesterol that builds up and blocks blood flow in the arteries.
Triglycerides are also an important test to have done. This test shows the amount of fat in the blood at the time you have your blood drawn.
If you're doctor has requested that you have a lipid panel or cholesterol test, it is recommended that you fast for 10-12 hours (a small amount of water, black coffee and any medications are permitted.