Understanding Hematology Tests
The blood plays a crucial role in the biological life of a human being. Without blood, our bodies would simply stop working. But as life-giving and powerful a force blood is inside the body, it is still susceptible to disorders. Its malfunction eventually leads to morphological abnormalities known commonly as “blood diseases.”
The field of medicine that deals directly with blood diseases is called hematology. A specialist in hematology – a hematologist – will study a person’s blood and blood-forming organs in order to come up with accurate diagnosis and proper treatment for the disease.
However, there are far too many diseases relating to the blood that it would be difficult for the hematologist to diagnose one particular condition. For this, he needs aids and tools, such as a properly equipped laboratory, microscopes for examining blood sample slides, and hematology tests.
Hematology tests or blood tests, especially, are one of the commonest methods used to monitor blood diseases. Below are some of the hematology tests that hematologists rely on in conducting their studies:
Complete Blood Count (CBC)
This particular hematology test is used to aid in diagnosing such diseases as anemia, certain cancers of the blood as well as monitoring blood loss and infection. There are six subtypes under this category of hematology tests and they are:
- White Blood Cell (WBC) Count – The average healthy adult has 4,000-11,000 white blood cells per cubic millimeter or microliter of blood. If the WBC count is high, this means that an infection is present in the body, since white blood cells (leukocytes) are responsible for defending the body against infection. On the other hand, if the WBC count is low, this can mean that a specific disease or drug has impaired the bone marrow’s ability to produce new white blood cells.
- Red Blood Cell (RBC) Count – Normal RBC count is between 3.6 and 6.1 million in a single cubic millimeter of blood. The red blood cells, or erythrocytes, are responsible for transporting oxygen from the lungs to the organs and carbon dioxide from the organs to the lungs. If RBC count is low, the condition is commonly known as anemia.
- Platelets – Called thrombocytes, platelets are the elements in the blood that are directly involved in the formation of blood clots. Normal platelet count is around 150,000 to 440,000 per cubic millimeter of blood.
- Hematocrit Red Blood Cell Volume (HCT)
- Hemoglobin Concentration (HB)
- Differential Blood Count
- Prothrombin Time (PT)
This specific hematology test is used by hematologists to evaluate bleeding and clotting disorders. In addition, this hematology test may also be used to monitor anticoagulation or anti-clotting therapies.
This type of hematology test in hematological studies includes physical examination of color, pH level, and gravity. It may also include chemical analysis for blood, proteins, glucose, and other substances that may be contained in the urine sample. Also, a microscopic examination of the red and white blood cells, bacteria, and other substances may also help the hematologist diagnose kidney and bladder infections as well as other diseases.