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Dr. Swati Gupta (Anand)
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Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin

Also known as Red blood cell indices
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This test is for
Male, Female
Test Preparation
  1. No special preparation is required.

Understanding Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin

What is Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin?

A Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin test helps measure the amount of hemoglobin in the red blood cells (RBCs). This test is a key indicator of how effectively oxygen is being distributed throughout the body. It is often done as part of a complete blood count test that also measures other types of blood cells.

The average amount of hemoglobin in each RBC is calculated by dividing the total amount of hemoglobin in your blood by the number of RBCs present, multiplied by 100. Low or high levels of MCH may indicate an underlying health condition, such as anemia or a vitamin deficiency. 

Your doctor may suggest a Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin test if you experience symptoms of low MCH levels, such as shortness of breath, loss of regular stamina, consistent tiredness, dizziness, weakness in the body, etc., or those of high MCH levels, such as loss of appetite, brittle nails, fast heartbeat, diarrhea, pale skin, poor concentration, etc. The low levels may indicate iron-deficiency anemia or thalassemia, whereas the high levels may indicate macrocytic anemia. No special preparation is required for an MCH test; you can eat or drink as per your daily routine. 

Test result ranges are approximate and may differ slightly between different labs depending on the methodology and laboratory guidelines. Talk to your doctor about your specific results. The results will help them determine your medical condition and formulate an overall treatment plan.

What is Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin used for?

An MCH test can be done:

  • As part of a complete blood count test to monitor your overall health.

  • To screen, diagnose, and monitor the treatment progress for diseases that can affect the hemoglobin or red blood cells, like anemia.

What does Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin measure?

An MCH test measures the average amount of hemoglobin in a single red blood cell (RBC). Hemoglobin is an iron-containing protein in RBCs, and its major function is to transport oxygen from the lungs to all body parts. This test provides information about how much oxygen is being delivered to the body by a certain number of RBCs.

Answers to Patient Concerns & Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) about Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin

Frequently Asked Questions about Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin

Q. What does it mean if your MCH is low?

Low MCH levels mean your hemoglobin production is less than normal. As a result, the number of healthy red blood cells also decreases, leading to anemia.

Q. What does it mean if MCH is high?

High MCH levels are commonly a sign of macrocytic anemia. This condition occurs when the blood cells are too big, which can be a result of vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency in the body.

Q. How is the MCH test done?

The MCH test is done using a sample of blood that is withdrawn from a vein in your arm. The blood sample is collected in a vial and sent to the lab for analysis.

Q. Is there any risk associated with the MCH test?

There is no risk associated with this test. However, as the needle is used to prick and take out your blood sample, you may experience bleeding, swelling, or blood collection under your skin, which is usually self-limiting.
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