Do you know what the MCH reading is when you have a blood test? Blood tests can not only help screen diseases and recognize abnormalities in the body, but also help detect and diagnose cancer in order to promptly develop a suitable treatment regimen. In particular, blood testing plays an important role in human health. To know what is the MCH index and what does it mean? Let’s follow the article below with Ocany!
What is a blood test?
A blood test (hematology test) is a type of test done on a blood sample with the purpose of measuring the amount of certain substances in the blood or counting the number of different types of blood cells. Blood tests can be done to look for signs of disease, pathogens, check antibodies, find signs of cancer or evaluate the effectiveness of treatment, etc.
There are many different types of blood tests available today. In particular, the complete blood cell analysis (CBC) test is a routine test, performed during physical examination, medical examination, emergency, or to monitor the patient’s treatment process, etc. This test checks for 3 types of cells in the blood: white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.
CBC results also clearly reflect the quality and quantity of blood cells, thereby allowing doctors to diagnose and monitor abnormal problems of the body (anemia, infections, bleeding disorders, etc.) …) and better prognosis, more accurate.
>>> See more: What is the viscosity of blood? How to reduce blood viscosity?
What is the MCH Index? Meaning of MCH in blood test
MCH or Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin is the average amount of hemoglobin present in a red blood cell of the human body. It is known that hemoglobin is the protein that helps red blood cells carry oxygen to cells and tissues inside the human body.
The MCH can be determined by having a CBC blood test during a routine physical visit. CBC is a complete blood test done with the aim of fully checking the 3 types of cells in the blood: white blood cells, red blood cells, and even platelets. The CBC will help the doctor have an overview of the current health of the person being tested. At the same time, it can also detect some abnormalities of the body, such as infections, anemia and bleeding disorders.
Some important notes when performing the MCH ON test
Before performing the MCH index test, the tester should comply with the following regulations:
- Do not take any medicine before the blood test. In case the patient has missed the medication, it is necessary to inform the doctor for appropriate treatment.
- Fasting: When testing MCH along with other tests to diagnose liver disease, blood fat or blood sugar, patients need to fast for 8-12 hours. For testing for hyperthyroidism or HIV and other diseases, the patient does not need to fast.
- Before the test, the patient did not use stimulants such as alcohol, beer, coffee, tobacco, etc.
>>> See more: Is drinking coffee every day good? Benefits and harms of coffee
What does a low MCH mean?
An MCH reading below 26 pg/cell means that you are in a state of iron deficiency in the blood. Iron plays an important role in making hemoglobin. When the body lacks iron, the MCH level in the blood will be low. This condition also often occurs in people who are undernourished or are following a vegetarian diet.
In addition, another cause of low MCH is prolonged menstruation in women, gastric surgery, and Celiac disease. These diseases will cause the patient’s body to lose iron or lack iron because it does not absorb iron adequately. Besides, when the body is deficient in a few important vitamins such as vitamin B, the MCH index will also drop.
In people with low MCH, there are usually no symptoms in the early stages. When the disease is more severe, the index drops too low, the patient will have symptoms such as shortness of breath, dizziness, fatigue, pale skin, bruising, etc.
Causes and symptoms of low MCH
An MCH reading below 27.5 pg is considered low. This means that there is less hemoglobin in the red blood cells than normal.
Causes of low MCH
Low MCH is iron deficiency anemia. Iron plays a very important role in the production of hemoglobin. The body absorbs small amounts of iron from food to make hemoglobin. Some of the main causes of this condition are a diet that is too low in iron, having undergone major surgery or trauma, and losing a lot of blood.
In rare cases, a low MCH may be due to congenital hemolytic disease (also called thalassemia). In people with this disease, the production of hemoglobin inside the body is limited and there will be fewer red blood cells in the blood than normal people.
Symptoms of low MCH
Low MCH has signs and symptoms such as:
- Shortness of breath
- Tired, sluggish
- Chest tightness
- Heart beat fast
- Pale or yellow skin
What does a high MCH mean?
In case the MCH index is higher than 34 pg/cell, the patient is at risk of pernicious anemia. This condition occurs when the body does not have enough folic acid and vitamin B12. People with elevated MCH often have the following conditions:
- Diseases in the liver
- Taking too many pills containing estrogen
- Abuse of alcohol and stimulants
- Complications of cancer or infection
Causes and symptoms of high MCH
A high MCH will usually be above 33.2 pg. This means that the body has more hemoglobin in each red blood cell than usual.
Causes of high MCH
High MCH is usually caused by anemia when there is a deficiency of B vitamins, especially vitamin B12 and folate (vitamin B9). Both of these B vitamins are used by the body to make red blood cells. Vitamin B deficiency anemia can occur if the diet does not provide enough B vitamins and the body does not absorb vitamin B12 or folate effectively. Therefore, we need to recognize the signs of vitamin B deficiency so that we can timely supplement and prevent anemia.
Symptoms of high MCH
Signs and symptoms of a high MCH are similar to those of a low MCH, including:
- Shortness of breath
- Chest tightness
- Tired, sluggish
- Heart beat fast
- Pale skin, yellow skin
If you are anemic due to vitamin B12 deficiency, you may also have symptoms such as:
- A stinging sensation in the palms of your hands or feet
- Nausea, or vomiting
- Flatulence, bloating, indigestion
- Neurological symptoms, such as depression, moodiness or confusion
If you have anemia because your body lacks folate, you will have the following symptoms:
- Or grumpy
- Smooth tongue due to loss of tongue spine or can also become sensitive
How can the balance of the MCH index be ensured?
Do you know what MCH is as well as the symptoms when it is high or low? In case there are warning signs of low or high MCH level, the patient needs to go to medical facilities for testing. From there, the doctor will be able to find the cause and prescribe the appropriate treatment.
- MCH index is low: Patients can adjust this index back to the balance level if they change their diet according to the doctor’s instructions. If the body shows serious symptoms such as dizziness, shortness of breath, pale skin, it is necessary to go to a medical facility for treatment;
- MCH index is high: It is necessary to go to a medical facility or hospital immediately for medical examination and treatment and timely treatment.
Above is information about what the MCH is, as well as the causes and symptoms of high or low MCH. To be on the safe side, each of us should have regular health check-ups while the body is healthy. Ocany wishes readers good health!
John Alen was born in 1971 and is a doctor in the healthcare and psychology fields with many years of experience. He is currently working at easyhealthylive.com, a leading health and psychology blog. Having studied at Y1 National Medical University named after IM Sechenov, John Alen is using his knowledge and experience to help improve the physical and mental health of people in the United States.