Health and Fitness - NY Daily News
Advertisement

CML Medical Monitor

Learn to Read Your Lab Results: Blood Counts


Watch Video

Summary & Participants

An important function of the CML Medical Monitor is to record your lab results, and track them over time. Since CML is a blood cancer, most of your lab tests will be to check on your blood counts.

Medically Reviewed On: July 21, 2012

Webcast Transcript


An important function of the CML Medical Monitor is to record your lab results, and track them over time. Since CML is a blood cancer, most of your lab tests will be to check on your blood counts. Blood counts measure the health of different types of cells that make up your blood. This is very important in the treatment of CML.

The most important number to monitor is your white blood cell count. White blood cells fight infections. The normal range of white blood cells is 4 to 11. And that means 4 billion to 11 billion white blood cells per liter of blood. In patients with CML, this number can increase a hundred-fold, to as high as 500, or half a trillion white blood cells per liter of blood. That's because CML interferes with the mechanism the body uses to regulate replication of these blood cells. Their growth goes unchecked.

Additionally, other blood cells have to be monitored because they may become critically high or low as a result of CML. So, in addition to numbers for your white blood cells, you'll also record numbers for your red blood cells, which carry oxygen, and your platelets, which help blood clot.

The "My Diary" section of the CML Medical Monitor will help you keep track of your lab values. In the blood count section, you'll enter the numbers that you get on your lab tests.

Now, your report may look different, but with a little practice, you'll be reading CBCs like an MD. The first number that you need to enter into your blood counts diary is the number of your white blood cells. Now, some lab reports will report them as "WBC." And the number may have units like 109 per liter, or thousand per mcl, or microliter. But don't worry about that. What you need to enter is the number, which should be between 0 and perhaps a couple of hundred. Remember, the normal range, for someone without CML here, is 3.8 to 10.8.

The next value is your red blood cells, or RBCs. Now here it gets a little easier, because labs, in a very standard way, report this as a hematocrit, or HCT. And the units are always percent, so just enter that number in the appropriate space. This number represents the percent of your blood volume that is occupied by the red blood cells, and the normal value, as shown here, is about 35 to 45 percent.

Related to your hematocrit is another lab value, the hemoglobin. This is the concentration in your blood of the oxygen-carrying protein, hemoglobin. Now some lab rpoerts will report them as HGB, and the units are usually in g/dL or grams per decilater. Here, the normal range is 11.7 to 15.5. In this example, the value for hemoglobin is 13.0. This is the number that you would enter in the CML Medical Monitor.

And to enter your platelet values, the units are just as the same as for the white blood cells. But the numbers are usually about 100 times higher, somewhere between 140 and 400. Here the value is 46, and it's reported as being out of range, or low. So this low platelet value would be something that you and your doctor would keep an eye on. Check one last time to be sure the information is correct, then click on "Submit."

RELATED PROGRAMS
Advertisement