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Complete Blood Count (CBC) for Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

A complete blood count (CBC) provides information about the different types of blood cells. In a person with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), the CBC may show:

  • An increased number of red blood cells (erythrocytosis). This occurs when the person has had low oxygen levels in the blood (hypoxemia) for a long period of time. Red blood cells carry oxygen in the blood. Because of damage to the lungs, a person with COPD often cannot get enough air. The body reacts by producing more red blood cells to try to increase the amount of oxygen in the blood.
  • An increased number of white blood cells.
    • An increase in the white blood cells that fight infection (neutrophils) may mean that the person has an infection. An increase in neutrophils can also occur in response to using oral or intravenous (IV) corticosteroids.
    • An increase in the white blood cells that may be produced during an allergic reaction (eosinophils) may mean that a condition such as asthma is causing the symptoms.

See Complete Blood Count (CBC) for more information on this test.

Recommended Related to COPD

COPD and Weight Loss: Improving Your Appetite

Loss of Appetite One of the most common reasons for weight loss among COPD patients is simply loss of appetite. Some say they eat less because food just does not taste as good as it used to. Others say they get too tired preparing meals. For some, the acts of chewing, swallowing and breathing all at the same time requires too much work. To reduce this factor, eat foods that are soft and easy to swallow. Sometimes, medicine side effects can interfere with appetite or with the proper...

Read the COPD and Weight Loss: Improving Your Appetite article > >

By Healthwise Staff
Primary Medical Reviewer E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Ken Y. Yoneda, MD - Pulmonology
Last Revised November 29, 2011

WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: November 29, 2011
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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