Hematology refers to the study of blood and the impact it has on disease and overall health. Hematologists study various blood disorders and conduct research to understand what roles blood plays in the body. Hematology covers issues with not only white and red blood cells, but also with platelets, bone marrow, blood vessels, spleen, lymph nodes, and all the proteins involved in clotting and bleeding.
Hematology tests are common when treating blood conditions. Patients who require anemia treatment as well as treatment of blood cancer, will need regular hematology tests. Hemophilia treatment also involves these tests. Hematology tests can be used both as a diagnostic tool and measure of effectiveness for these treatments. Of course, it starts with understanding the most common hematology tests.
Complete Blood Count
A complete blood count (CBC) is a hematology test that evaluates a patient's overall health. It can be used to detect multiple different disorders, including leukemia, infection, and anemia. These tests review several different aspects of blood. This includes measuring the amount of white blood cells, red blood cells, hemoglobin, and platelets in the makeup of a patient's blood. In addition, they measure the proportion of plasma to red blood cells. If any of these readings are unusual, the hematologist will have a better sense of the underlying condition with which a patient may be dealing.
Complete blood counts are used for multiple different reasons. In addition to being a diagnostic tool, they can be used to review overall health during a routine examination, monitor a chronic medical condition, or monitor ongoing medical treatment. If a patient is recovering from a medical condition like cancer, their doctor may order complete blood counts periodically to make sure they have not had any relapses. Complete blood counts are not fasting blood tests. However, patients may need to fast if their doctor needs additional information from the sample.
Keep reading to learn about the most common hematology tests now.