English 4 MIN READ 1011 VIEWS May 9, 2024

Understanding Your MCH Blood Test: What You Need to Know

Written By HealthKart
Medically Reviewed By Dr. Aarti Nehra

Have you recently undergone a routine blood test and noticed the term “MCH” on your results? If so, you’re not alone. MCH or Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin, is a crucial component measured in blood tests that can provide valuable insights into your overall health. But what exactly does it mean when your MCH levels fall outside the normal range?

In this guide, we’ll delve into the details of MCH blood test, exploring what they measure, why it is important, and what your results might indicate. 

What is MCH Blood Test?

Mean Corpuscular Haemoglobin, or the average amount of haemoglobin present in red blood cells is referred to as MCH levels, which is done through an MCH blood test. Red blood cells carry a protein called haemoglobin, which enables them to carry oxygen to the body’s tissues and cells.

MCH levels and MCHC levels are not the same despite their close similarity. The average amount of haemoglobin in each red blood cell is known as the MCH level. The average concentration of that haemoglobin in a specific volume of red blood cells is known as the MCHC level. The health of the haemoglobin in the blood is reflected in both.

MCH Levels

For the MCH blood test, a complete blood count (CBC) test is frequently done by doctors to determine a patient’s MCH levels. For adults, the MCH blood test normal range is between 27 and 31 picograms (pg) of MCH per cell. Depending on the MCH blood test machine, these figures can vary.

Young children’s numbers are different. An MCH blood test low results of an individual having amounts of no more than 27 pg per cell. A person showing MCH blood test high levels will have MCH levels of 34 pg or more per cell.

MCH rangeMCH Level (pg)
Lowless than 27
normal27–31
Highmore than 31

What is a CBC Test?

A complete blood count, or CBC test, gives doctors a broader picture of a patient’s health. The test may screen a patient for multiple problems at once and diagnose illnesses like anaemia, bleeding disorders and infections. The three types of blood cells analysed by CBC testing are a total cell count of  white, red, and platelet cells. 

Causes of Low MCH Levels

MCH blood test low levels can have a number of possible causes, such as:

  • Iron-deficiency anaemia: This condition is characterised by a low level of iron in the blood, which can be brought on by severe internal bleeding, cancer, iron absorption issues or malnourishment. Low iron levels can also be caused by pregnancy and heavy menstruation.
  • Microcytic anaemia: A deficiency in haemoglobin causes red blood cells to be smaller than normal in the case of microcytic anaemia.
  • Haemoglobinopathy: This group of conditions that affect haemoglobin, including sickle cell anaemia and thalassemia.

Symptoms of Low MCH Levels

Many patients with MCH blood test low levels first show no symptoms at all. Symptoms begin when low MCH values continue or drop too far. Dizziness, weakness, shortness of breath and persistent fatigue are some of the signs of low MCH. Skin problems might also result from low MCH values. A person who shows MCH blood test low levels may have pale skin or can experience bruises easily.

Causes of High MCH Levels

The most common indicator of macrocytic anaemia is MCH blood test high levels. This disorder is characterised by hyperplasia of the blood cells, which may be due to insufficient levels of folic acid or vitamin B12.

The following reasons may also result in MCH blood test high levels:

  • Liver disorders
  • An overactive thyroid gland
  • Frequent alcohol consumption
  • Difficulties from some cancer types and infections
  • Uptake of an excessive number of oestrogen-containing drugs

Symptoms of High MCH Levels

A specific pattern of symptoms may be seen in those with MCH blood test high level due to macrocytic anaemia. Symptoms may not be noticeable at first, but they may progressively worsen with time. High MCH symptoms include fatigue, pale complexion, a quick heartbeat, brittle, easily broken nails and brain fog or poor focus. Digestive problems can also be experienced by those who have macrocytic anaemia. They could experience frequent diarrhoea, lose weight and lack of appetite. Anyone exhibiting any of these signs needs to consult a doctor. 

Treatment for MCH Level Imbalance

To achieve an MCH blood test normal range, one can try the following treatment options:

  1. Diet changes

Doctors may advise patients to increase their intake of iron and vitamin B6. Consuming iron-containing meals, fibre and vitamin C may also help raise MCH levels. Dark green vegetables, liver, lean red meat, lentils, beans, other legumes, and tofu are foods high in iron. Increasing folic acid and vitamin B12 intake can help lower high MCH levels. Although a varied and balanced diet is the ideal source of nutrients, supplements may also be able to assist in maintaining proper MCH levels. 

  1. Supplements

In cases where the diet is deficient in MCH, supplements of iron and several vitamins, such as vitamin B12, vitamin C and folic acid, can help raise the levels of MCH. Before beginning any supplementation or making significant dietary changes, people with an imbalance in their MCH levels should always consult their doctors about a treatment plan.

Conclusion

After an MCH blood test, most people can manage their MCH levels by modifying their diet. Those with conditions that cause quick absorption of iron may require iron injections. Certain individuals might need to have iron-rich blood transfusions on a frequent basis. To facilitate a seamless diagnosis and course of treatment, patients should be honest with their doctor about their dietary and drinking habits during the testing process. 

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