Hematology

It is the science or study of blood, blood-forming organs and blood diseases.

Four major areas of study within hematology include anemia, coagulopathies, hemoglobinopathy, and hematological malignancies.

One of the most common hematology tests is the complete blood count, or CBC. This test is often conducted during a routine exam and can detect anemia, infections, clotting problems, blood cancers, immune system disorders. 

This test measures many different parts of your blood, as discussed in the following paragraphs.

RED BLOOD CELLS

Red blood cells carry oxygen from your lungs to the rest of your body. Abnormal red blood cell levels may be a sign of anemia, dehydration (too little fluid in the body), bleeding, or another disorder.

WHITE BLOOD CELLS

White blood cells are part of your immune system, which fights infections and diseases. Abnormal white blood cell levels may be a sign of infection, blood cancer, or an immune system disorder.

A CBC measures the overall number of white blood cells in your blood. A CBC with differential looks at the amounts of different types of white blood cells in your blood.

PLATELETS

Platelets (PLATE-lets) are blood cell fragments that help your blood clot. They stick together to seal cuts or breaks on blood vessel walls and stop bleeding.

Abnormal platelet levels may be a sign of a bleeding disorder (not enough clotting) or a thrombotic disorder (too much clotting).

HEMOGLOBIN

Hemoglobin (HEE-muh-glow-bin) is an iron-rich protein in red blood cells that carries oxygen. Abnormal hemoglobin levels may be a sign of anemia, sickle cell anemiathalassemia (thal-a-SE-me-ah), or other blood disorders.

If you have diabetes, excess glucose in your blood can attach to hemoglobin and raise the level of hemoglobin A1c.

HEMATOCRIT

Hematocrit (hee-MAT-oh-crit) is a measure of how much space red blood cells take up in your blood. A high hematocrit level might mean you’re dehydrated. A low hematocrit level might mean you have anemia. Abnormal hematocrit levels also may be a sign of a blood or bone marrow disorder.

MEAN CORPUSCULAR VOLUME

Mean corpuscular (kor-PUS-kyu-lar) volume (MCV) is a measure of the average size of your red blood cells. Abnormal MCV levels may be a sign of anemia or thalassemia.

Additional information can be found by searching the following websites:

www.abim.org/specialty/hematology.aspx

www.ehaweb.org/

www.hematology.org

www.mayoclinic.org/departments-centers/hematology/sections/overview/ovc-20201283

www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/

www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/anemia

www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/bdt/types

www.redcrossblood.org/learn-about-blood/blood-components