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What are Red Blood Cells, White Blood Cells and Platelets?

There is a test called a complete blood count (CBC) to monitor your blood cell counts. Your bone marrow makes blood cells in the body. Bone marrow is the spongy material found in your bones. When checking your blood cell count, your doctor is looking at the numbers and types of blood cells.

Red Blood Cells, White Blood Cells, and Platelets

White Blood Cells: These cells help your body fight infection. A low white blood cell count (leukopenia) leaves your body more open to infection. And if an infection does develop, your body may be unable to fight it off.

Red Blood Cells: Red blood cells carry oxygen throughout your body. Your red blood cells’ ability to carry oxygen is measured by the amount of hemoglobin in your blood. If your level of hemoglobin is low, you’re anemic and your body works much harder to supply oxygen to your tissues. This can make you feel fatigued and short of breath.

Platelets: Platelets help your blood to clot. A low platelet count (thrombocytopenia) means your body can’t stop itself from bleeding.

What’s Being Counted What’s Normal What’s Low
White Blood Cells 5,000 to 10,000 Below normal
Hemoglobin 14.5 to 18 for men
12 to 16 for women
Below 10
Platelets 150,000 to 450,000 Below normal, especially below 20,000

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