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Lab Walk-thru: CBC w/Diff, Platelets, Glucose

The next part of our lab review is looking at the white blood cell portion of the Complete Blood count with Differential or CBC w/diff.

This is by far one of the most valuable tests I do for people. There is so much information packed into this one inexpensive test. Nothing gives a better snapshot of your current health picture than this one little test.

Look at all that information!

Your white blood cells or leukocytes, are the pieces that make up your immune system -- the network of cells, tissues, and organs that work together to protect you from infection. There are 5 different types of white blood cells, each giving us a view of your immune health:

Neutrophils are the most common white blood cells and are your body's defense against infection from bacteria, viruses, or other germs. We watch this to show us signs of bacterial or fungal infections. Too much neutrophil activity can increase the release of agents that are toxic to cells (cytotoxic) and over-activating parts of the immune system. Under normal circumstances, this helps protect the body from infections or injury, but prolonged and unregulated release of these compounds can damage body tissues. High blood pressure and heart disease are often seen with the prolonged release effect.

Lymphocytes include 2 main types of cells, B and T. The B cells fight off invading viruses, bacteria, and toxins. Certain T cells can target and destroy your body's own cells, such as cancer cells or cells that have been infected by viruses. We watch this to track viral or autoimmune issues. Cortisol suppresses lymphocytes/decreased cortisol can increase lymphocytes, Smoking can also increase lymphocytes. Temporary increases are seen with heavy exercise periods, menses, and during periods of emotional stress.

Monocytes kill bacteria, viruses, and other germs as well as boost your immune system response and clear away dead cells. Above 7 typically shows us an active virus; above 12 typically indicates mono, Epstein Barr, or Guillain-Barre. You can see an elevation in monocytes during recovery from infection. Increases are also seen with liver dysfunction, urinary tract congestion/BPH in males, non-fatty liver disease, diabetes, and ulcerative colitis issues.

Eosinophils defend against parasites as well as infections. These are also involved in allergies and cases of inflammation. We watch this for food allergies or parasite issues. Asthma, hyperthyroid, and adrenal dysfunction; elevations also correlate with platelet counts and fibrinogen.

Basophils release enzymes during allergic reactions and asthma attacks. Elevated above 1%, this shows us food or environmental allergies or parasites. elevations als seen with influenza activity, hypothyroid, endocrine dysfunction, and chronic hemolytic anemia.

Remember when we talked about how the values for pathological and functional were different -- pathological values look for the presence of disease

A typical lab range for the CBC w/diff is 3.8-11.5. A functional range, that optimal range for those who are healthy, is 5-8. at 3.5 and 11.5 we know things are out of balance and you have active illness/disease working in the body.

Would you rather find out once it's already active...or would you rather see that it's trending that way and try to correct the imbalance as soon as you can?

When we look at the CBC w/diff, we can see things like infections, allergic responses, autoimmune and other inflammatory diseases, and even leukemia and some other types of cancer. This test alone is a great way to monitor your health and watch for patterns.

So what do we see looking at the lab results shared yesterday? Well, again, what other things might we need to know about our client to make the best recommendations?

  • Is it a male or a female?

  • What is their age?

  • Are they pregnant, pre- or post-menopausal?

  • Do they have known allergies (foods, toxins, seasonal, etc)?

  • Have they recently been out of the country or been swimming in a lake, river, or ocean?

  • Do we have information about their history, especially medical history (any surgeries, any alcohol or drug use, genetic concerns, etc)

  • What about lifestyle information (exercise level, diet, living environment, etc)?

There is always more to the picture than we see at first glance. You have to know some details to find the oath to follow.

If this were a client right now, my first thought would go toward the crazy high pollen counts we have been battling for over a month. And if it was a pregnant female, I'd be expecting some of these levels to be elevated for that reason alone, then factoring in the seasonal allergy blitz we are under.

Coagulation shows the platelets and MPV, or Mean Platelet Value. Platelets are tiny blood cells that stick together to make blood clots or slow bleeding at the site of injury. The MPV measures the average size of the platelets. This test is often used to diagnose bleeding disorders or diseases of the bone marrow where the platelets are produced. Some conditions that affect this process and lead to low platelet counts, or thrombocytopenia, include anemia, viral infections, leukemia and cancer, heavy alcohol usage, chemotherapy drugs and radiation treatments. Certain severe bacterial conditions, medications like heparin, sulfa drugs, quinine, autoimmune diseases such as lupus and rheumatoid arthritis, and pregnancy can all affect platelet production.

The most common concerns with elevated MPV is that the body is producing excess platelets due to the destruction of platelets, alcoholism, low-functioning thyroid issues, autoimmune disease, low insulin production or insulin resistance.

Glucose is the primary type of sugar in our bodies, coming from carbohydrates in our foods to provide energy to all of our cells, especially the brain cells. High glucose, or hyperglycemia, can lead to diabetes, cardiovascular disease and stroke. Low glucose levels can cause confusion, anxiety, weakness, sweating and vision problems. Seizures can occur if low levels are left untreated.

Blood sugar ranges vary based on whether or not you have diabetes or if you are pregnant.

  • Adults with Type 1 should be in an 80-130 range fasting, and <180 2 hrs after eating

  • Adults with Type 2 80-130 fasting, and <180 1-2 hrs postprandial

  • Children with Type 1 90-130 fasting, and 90-150 at bedtime or overnight

  • Pregnant (Type 1 and gestational diabetes <95 fasting,140 1hr/120 2 hrs after eating

  • 65 years and older 80-180 fasting, 80-200 for those in poor health, assisted living, and end of life

  • Those without Diabetes 99 or lower fasting, 140 or lower after meals

Knowing a broader picture of current health and medical history can help you decide what needs to be done to help restore balance.

  • Is there pancreatic inflammation? This can be temporary or from a chronic cause such as alcohol usage or gallstones.

  • Is there a concern for hyperthyroid or overactive adrenal function?

  • elevated stress hormones, obesity, stress increase due to injury, illness, or recent surgery

  • endocrine disorder such as Cushings, benign adrenal tumors, or excess growth hormone

  • kidney dysfunction or fat deposits in the liver

  • Thiamine (B1) deficiency issues

  • How is their sleep? Has there been recent disruptions to their usual pattern? Insomnia or excessive sleeping?

  • Levels of air pollution, even smoking or the process of quitting smoking can affect glucose levels

  • medications such as blood pressure/beta blockers, antidepressants, estrogen, contraceptives, Lithium, glucocorticoids, and Niacin (B3) all affect glucose levels adversely

You can see how lab reviews aren't necessarily a quick process. We can glean a lot from a quick read and give you some immediate thoughts, but to really help you map out your best health pathway, we have to look at multiple other factors in your life, your history, and your environment. This is where having multiple labs to review can be helpful. Piecing together the puzzle is always interesting to do, but it can take a little time to work out the direction we need to go to get things back on a healthier track.

If you're ready to do a dive into your health picture, we're ready to help! Bring your previous and current labs, or we can start fresh with new labs for you. We offer monthly specials for selected lab panels such as thyroid, heavy metals, heart health and more. Let's work together to help get your health back on track. Schedule your visit with us today!


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