MCH (mean corpuscular hemoglobin) is an estimate of the amount of hemoglobin in a red blood cell. Hemoglobin is a protein responsible for transporting oxygen from your lungs to your body’s tissues. It plays an important role in the shape of your red blood cells and overall health. If an unusually high or low amount of MCH is found during a blood test, this usually signifies macrocytic or microcytic anemia.
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Why Is an MHC Blood Test Important?
MCH blood tests are normally used as a way to test for anemia. During an MCH test, a blood sample is usually taken from your arm and processed. Normal adult MCH levels fall between 26 and 34.
During a blood test, what do high levels of MCH mean?
MCH levels are considered high if they are 35 or higher. High levels of MCH usually indicate that you have macrocytic anemia, a condition characterized by red blood cells that are larger than normal and, therefore, have more hemoglobin present in them. An insufficient supply of vitamins B12 or folic acid is usually the cause of macrocytic anemia.
What do low levels of MCH mean?
MCH levels are considered low if they are below 26. Low MCH levels can indicate microcytic anemia, acute iron deficiency, or hemoglobinopathy.
- Microcytic anemia is characterized by red blood cells that are smaller than normal and contain lower amounts of hemoglobin. The most common cause of microcytic anemia is iron deficiency.
- Acute iron deficiency is caused by insufficient amounts of iron in your blood and can cause weakness, fatigue, shortness of breath, and pale skin.
- Hemoglobinopathy is a group of genetic blood disorders that cause an abnormal form of hemoglobin, like sickle cell anemia.
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