Healthdirect Free Australian health advice you can count on.

Medical problem? Call 1800 022 222. If you need urgent medical help, call triple zero immediately

healthdirect Australia is a free service where you can talk to a nurse or doctor who can help you know what to do.

beginning of content

Full blood count

2-minute read

A full blood count (FBC) is a very common blood test that is also sometimes called a complete blood count (CBC) or full blood examination (FBE). It is a test for general health, but it can also provide information about a range of conditions.

What is being tested?

A full blood count test looks at the number, types and sizes of different cells in your blood:

It also measures haemoglobin, the protein that carries oxygen around your body.

Why would I need this test?

A full blood count is a very common test used to screen for, help diagnose, and monitor a variety of conditions. It can be used as part of routine medical testing, or to examine specific issues such as:

  • infection
  • anaemia
  • tiredness or weakness
  • bleeding or clotting problems
  • exposure to toxic substances
  • monitoring response to treatment.

There are many medical conditions that can affect your full blood count. Some medications can also affect blood cells, and some vitamin or mineral deficiencies can impact red blood cells.

How to prepare for this test

No preparation is needed for this test.

Understanding your results

Many conditions change the numbers and proportions of various blood cell types in your blood. These changes can provide a great deal of information about your health. Here are some examples:

  • Your red blood cells might be increased if too many are being made or you have lost fluid in your body. They might be decreased (anaemia), which can make you feel tired and weak.
  • Infection and inflammation affect the number and types of white blood cells in the blood. Particular kinds and proportions of white blood cells can indicate specific conditions. Sometimes, diseases like leukaemia can make the white blood cell count very high.
  • Bleeding and clotting disorders can affect the numbers of platelets in the blood.

There is a wide range of conditions and medications that can affect cell populations, so it is best to discuss your test results with your doctor.

More information

About full blood count testing

See Lab Tests Online for more information about a full blood count.

About blood testing

Visit our healthdirect‘s ‘Guide to blood testing’ to learn more about blood tests in general, including information about:

  • what to consider before having a blood test
  • what happens during a blood test
  • results accuracy
  • blood tests cost.

Sources:

Lab Tests Online (Full blood count), myVMC (Full Blood Count (FBC, Full Blood Test or Complete Blood Count, CBC))

Last reviewed: September 2016

Need more information?

These trusted information partners have more on this topic.

Found 23 results

Full blood count (FBC) - myDr.com.au

A full blood count (FBC), or complete blood count (CBC), is a common blood test that measures the number and status of different types of blood cells, including red cells, white cells and platelets.

Read more on myDr website

Full Blood Count (FBC, Full Blood Test or Complete Blood Count, CBC) | myVMC

A full blood count (FBC) is a very common clinical procedure and often the starting point formedical investigations. An FBC tests for disorders and abnormalities of the blood, and can alson give an indication of disease present in other organs.

Read more on myVMC – Virtual Medical Centre website

Full blood count - Lab Tests Online AU

Why and when to get tested for a full blood count

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Differential - white blood cells - Lab Tests Online AU

Why and when to get tested for a white blood cell differential count

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Red blood cell count - Lab Tests Online AU

RBC - why and when to get tested

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

White blood cell count - Lab Tests Online AU

Why and when to get tested for a white cell count

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Haematocrit - Lab Tests Online AU

Why and when to get tested for haematocrit

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Haemoglobin - Lab Tests Online AU

Why and when to get tested for haemoglobin

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Blood film - Lab Tests Online AU

Why and when to have a blood film examined

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

ANCA/MPO/PR3 Antibodies - Lab Tests Online AU

An ANCA test is ordered to evaluate someone who has symptoms that may be due to autoimmunevasculitis

Read more on Lab Tests Online website

Healthdirect 24hr 7 days a week hotline

24 hour health advice and information you can count on

1800 022 222

Government Accredited with over 140 information partners

We are a government-funded service, providing quality, approved health information

Australian Government, health department logo ACT Government logo New South Wales government, health department logo Northen Territory Government logo Government of South Australia, health department logo Tasmanian government logo Government of Western Australia, health department logo
Feedback