MCH test stands for mean corpuscular hemoglobin which refers to the calculation of the average amount of hemoglobin in blood. Low and high MCH levels may indicate certain conditions such as anemia and an overactive thyroid.
What is the MCH Test?
MCH is measured as part of a complete blood count (CBC). A complete blood count measures various aspects of your blood, including the levels of your red blood cells.
MCH value is associated with two other values, mean corpuscular volume (MCV) and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC). Collectively, MCH, MCV, and MCHC are referred to as red blood cell indices.
MCH Blood Test Results:
The normal range for MCH is 27 to 31 picograms per cell. Anything below or above the standard range of MCH may show an underlying condition.
1. Low levels of MCH:
The MCH levels below 26 pg are considered to be abnormally low. This MCH level may indicate hypochromic anemia. When there is not enough hemoglobin in the blood, this anemia usually occurs.
The lower MCH levels may also be a sign of certain conditions such as;
- Nutritional Deficiency
- Internal or External blood loss ( injury, surgery, menstrual bleeding)
- Autoimmune diseases
Symptoms of low levels of MCH:
The symptoms may not appear in some cases including iron-deficiency anemia. In case you have been feeling any symptoms, these mainly include;
- Cold hands and feet
- Pale skin
- Chest Pain
Treatment of Low MCH:
Low MCH levels in the blood indicate iron deficiency. It is recommended to add iron-rich foods to your daily routine diet. Taking iron supplements is another way to increase the MCH levels.
2. High levels of MCH:
MCH levels over 34 pg are typically considered abnormally high.
The most common cause for high MCH levels reported in the blood is macrocytic anemia. It produces larger blood cells that cannot transport oxygen efficiently. Higher MCH levels are also associated with these conditions such as;
- Congenital heart defects
- Lung disease
- Polycythemia vera
Symptoms of high levels of MCH:
The symptoms may vary from person to person. People usually do not notice symptoms at first, but they may get worse over time. Symptoms of high MCH levels in the blood include
- Blood clots
- Blurred or double vision
Treatment of high MCH:
Higher levels of MCH can be treated by some lifestyle modifications. Adding foods rich in vitamin B-12 and folic acid to the diet may help to treat anemia due to B-12 or folic acid deficiency.
It is recommended to take supplements and vitamins to increase B-12 and folic acid levels. B-12 injections can also be prescribed if you have problems with absorption.
How to Get Your MCH Levels Tested?
A mean corpuscular hemoglobin test is usually done as part of a complete blood count (CBC test) for your regular checkup. If you have a condition that affects your blood cell counts, the doctor may suggest conducting an MCH test.
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