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Info team
What does a low MCV, MCH and MCHC mean in a blood test, wat problem wud this indicate?

Additional Details
My results are:
MCH = 145 / 6.42 x 1012 = 23 pg
MCV = 0.42 / 6.42 x 1012 = 73.2 x 10-15 (changed to femolitres)

MCHC = 145 / 0.47 = 309 g/l blood

These tests are all about the size and color of your red blood cells and your results possibly indicate some kind of anemia. This means that you could be deficient in B12, folic acid or iron. Vitamin A and zinc could also be involved.

There is probably no harm in increasing your vitamin b12. It is often considered better to take this vitamin sublingually (under the tongue). You can also get more folic acid by taking a b-complex capsule.

However, if iron is the problem, the solution may require more testing and discussion with your doctor. You should try to find out the source of an iron deficiency before supplementing, but increasing iron rich foods in your diet is probably fine.

I've included some links that might provide more info.

I hope this helps some!

Good luck!

These three tests are used to determine whether the red blood cells are normal in size and whether they contain the appropriate amount of hemoglobin. They are calculated using your hemoglobin and hematrocrit results and your red blood cell count. It looks as though you already know the formulas. The normal values are:

MCH: 28-33 pg/cell
MCV: 86-98 fL
MCHC: 32-36 g/dL (or 32-36%) (or 320-360 g/L of blood)

Your results are just slightly low and may not be anything to worry about. Your physician will decide that and if he/she would require you to have further tests to see if there is anything going on.

There are a couple things that can cause these values to be low. They are as follows:

Decreased MCH:
~Hypochromic anemia (or hemoglobin deficiency)
~Lead poisoning
~Microcytic anemia (or iron deficiency anemia)
~Thalassemia (a genetic defect affecting the synthesis of globins in your blood resulting in anemia)

Decreased MCV:
~Lead poisoning
~Microcytic anemia (iron deficiency anemia)
~Rheumatoid Arthritis

Decreased MCHC:
~Hypochromic anemia (hemoglobin deficiency)
~Microcytic anemia (iron deficiency anemia)

More than likely it is a type of anemia, my guess would be iron deficiency anemia, as it is the only condition listed where all three values are low. However, your doctor will be the one who will have to determine this. Considering your levels are not very low, it may not be anything to worry about. If anything, a repeat test may just ease your mind.

I hope my answer was useful to you. Good luck!

Without your hemoglobin and hematocrit results, it's tough to say definitively, but the most likely cause would be iron deficiency anemia or an anemia of chronic disease. Would need the other values and a serum ferritin and transferrin level to be sure.

Best of luck, hope this is helpful!

After reading your values and the other responses, I'd like to add a comment or two.

Firstly, for the last responder, B12 deficiency causes a megaloblastic anemia and does not manifest as a microcytic anemia as suggested by the responder.

The second responder, although the review is relatively comprehensive still leaves out secondary anemia caused by chronic disease. This essentially means the body has iron, but it is not using it properly - as is the case with any kind of chronic infection or an autoimmune disease. The MCV, at 73 would be classified as definitely low - not slightly as suggested by the second responder.

The above reason speaks volumes about the need for iron levels - both ferritin, and a transferrin/total iron binding capacity. If the iron is normal or high, it's an anemia of chronic disease. If the iron is low or if the binding is off, you have iron deficiency anemia caused by a lack of absorption, or an increased loss.

I just didn't want you to be led astray by comprehensive, yet incomplete answers. Even information taken out of a book doesn't yield a total understanding of the pathologies of anemia. Grab your doc and do some iron studies. Additionally, the values of your hematocrit and hemoglobin would be good additions to rule out other etiologies of your microcytic (small) red blood cells.

Best wishes.

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