Q:

What is a hematology profile?

A:

A hematology profile is a standard hematology test that tests a blood sample for a variety of basic measurements. These measurements give a tally for each of the different types of cells in a given blood sample.

A hematology profile determines the amount of hemoglobin and the number of red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. The tests for hemoglobin and red blood cells are an important way to identify anemia, a condition often caused by insufficient iron intake on the part of the patient. Testing for white blood cells can reveal a number of different conditions. Fewer white blood cells than are expected can be an indication that the patient has a viral infection, while a patient with more white blood cells than expected may be experiencing a bacterial infection. The platelet count is important because a person with an excessively low platelet count is likely to bleed very easily, and low platelet counts are often associated with a variety of illnesses and disorders.

Red blood cells are an important measure for hematologists because they are responsible for carrying oxygen from the lungs throughout the rest of the body. White blood cells are an important measure because they are responsible for fighting infections in the bloodstream.

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