Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH)
Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH) is a part of Red Cell Indices done in Hemogram or CBC lab test
Why test for Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin (MCH)
MCH stands for mean corpuscular hemoglobin.
MCH levels refer to the average amount of hemoglobin found in the red blood cells in the body. Hemoglobin is a protein in the blood that allows red blood cells to deliver oxygen to the cells and tissues in the body.
Though they are very similar, MCH levels should not be confused with MCHC levels.
MCH levels are the average amount of hemoglobin that is in each red blood cell. MCHC levels are the average weight of that hemoglobin based on the volume of red blood cells. Both are a reflection of the health of the hemoglobin in the blood.
Causes of low MCH levels
Different types of anemia can cause low MCH levels. For example, microcytic anemia occurs when the blood cells are too small and cannot take in as much hemoglobin as they should. This can be due to malnutrition or nutritional deficiencies.
Some medical conditions can also cause anemia, even if the person eats a balanced and healthful diet.
- Low amounts of iron in the blood can also cause low MCH levels. The body uses iron to make hemoglobin. If the body runs out of iron, iron deficiency anemia can cause low MCH levels. This type of anemia may be more common in vegetarians or people with poor nutritional intake.
- People with other conditions may also experience low MCH levels. Celiac disease can prevent the body from properly absorbing iron, which makes it very difficult to keep the iron levels where they need to be.
- Likewise, people who have had types of gastric surgery may also not be able to absorb iron as well as they need to. Women with excessive menstruation may also become anemic, as they lose more iron in the menstrual blood than they can recover.
- Low MCH levels can also appear in a body that is lacking key vitamins. People who do not get enough B vitamins such as folate and B12 may show low MCH concentrations on their tests. Because a lack of vitamins can also show high MCH levels, doctors may request further lab testing and interpretation to make a definitive diagnosis.
Causes of high MCH levels
High MCH scores are commonly a sign of macrocytic anemia. This condition occurs when the blood cells are too big, which can be a result of not having enough vitamin B12 or folic acid in the body.
High MCH scores may also be the result of the following:
- liver diseases
- an overactive thyroid gland
- drinking alcohol regularly
- complications from certain cancers
- complications from an infection
- taking too many medications containing estrogen
The laboratory test results are NOT to be interpreted as results of a "stand-alone" test. The test results have to be interpreted after correlating with suitable clinical findings and additional supplemental tests/information. Your healthcare providers will explain the meaning of your tests results, based on the overall clinical scenario. For further information about these lab tests contact Symbion VIP Diagnostics pathology lab Ahmedabad at 09429410291