What is MCHC in Blood Test?

  • Author :
  • TATA AIG Team
  • Published on :
  • 26/10/2023

Blood is an essential part of how our body works. Apart from the various functions the blood undertakes, it also gives us a better idea of what is happening in our body. Hence, to monitor our health, doctors advise us to undergo various blood tests to determine if anything is wrong.

Blood tests, done either as a part of routine health checkup or to determine the cause of any discomfort, is one of the most common ways to diagnose a health-related issue. A blood test typically identifies, provides detailed assessment and monitors markers of illness early.

If you have taken a blood test, you may have heard your doctor taking note of your MCHC levels. MCHC is a haemoglobin test that measures the average haemoglobin concentration in your blood cells. We shall learn more about MCHC in blood reports in the article below.

Medical tests, including blood tests, can burn a hole in your pocket due to rising medical inflation. Also, if you are suffering from a disease, your doctor may prescribe various tests periodically to ensure the treatment is on track. Thus, having an adequate health insurance plan can always come in handy and help you cover financial costs related to medical expenses.

What is MCHC?

MCHC full form in blood tests, stands for mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration. Haemoglobin is a protein responsible for transporting oxygen in the blood throughout the body. The MCHC test measures the amount of haemoglobin a red blood cell has proportionate to the cell's volume.

It is one of the measurements taken during a complete blood count (CBC) test. MCHC tests may be prescribed by your doctor as a part of a complete health check or to diagnose certain health problems.

A high or low MCHC level in your blood cells can be an indication of current or future health problems. Hence, having this test done can help you diagnose and prevent various health complications.

MCHC blood test high: High haemoglobin or MCHC level may occur in people suffering from conditions that cause the red blood cells to be easily damaged.

MCHC blood test low: Low MCHC levels or haemoglobin would mean that your heart and lungs work harder to ensure your body gets enough oxygen to function properly. It may be an indication of anaemia.

Understanding High and Low MCHC Levels

We all are aware of the CBC test, which is a common blood test. A doctor may advise this test to monitor certain conditions or as a part of a regular test routine. MCHC in blood report indicates the haemoglobin levels in your blood cells.

MCHC's normal range is typically between 32 grams/deciliter (g/dL) to 36 grams/deciliter (g/dL), that is, (320 g/L to 360 g/L). This may vary for a newborn. A lower or higher level may indicate a type of anaemia. Causes for low or high MCHC levels may also be due to various reasons.

Why is MCHC Blood Test Conducted?

A doctor may specifically look at MCHC results:

  • When an individual faces certain symptoms of anaemia, like fatigue, pale skin, or light-headedness.

  • When an individual wants to know the different causes of anaemia where the red blood cell count or the haemoglobin levels are low

While the MCHC value helps diagnose anaemia, it is also used along with other tests like mean corpuscular volume (MCV) to help diagnose other health issues.

Symptoms of High and Low MCHC

Individuals suffering from high or low MCHC levels may often face similar symptoms. Let us look at some common symptoms of high and low MCHC.

Fatigue or tiredness: Since both these levels are linked to difficulty transporting oxygen through your body, they may lead to serious fatigue. Each cell of our body requires enough oxygen, and when this is not attained, they are not getting the energy we need, thus causing tiredness.

Feeling cold: Due to a lack of oxygen, our body struggles to maintain and regulate our body temperature. Thus, many individuals with low or high MCHC levels often feel cold and discomfort.

Increased heartbeat: If our body struggles to get enough oxygen, our hearts pump faster to fulfil the requirement. If your MCHC falls below the MCHC normal range values, your heart will beat faster to supply the required oxygen to the body.

Pale or yellow skin: Due to less haemoglobin in the red blood cells in proportion to the cell volume, the skin colour may appear pale or yellow in many individuals.

Some other symptoms of high or low MCHC:

  • Jaundice

  • Shortness of breath

  • Dizziness and headaches

  • Difficulty focusing

  • Chest pain

  • Abdominal discomfort

  • Fever

Causes of Low and High MCHC

MCHC in blood reports can show below or above the normal range due to the following reasons:

Causes of Low MCHC

  • Anaemia or iron deficiency is the most common cause of low MCHC. Hypochromic microcytic, a type of anaemia, results in low MCHC. It can be caused by a lack of iron, the inability of the body to absorb iron, low-grade blood loss due to a long menstrual cycle or ulcers, and premature destruction of blood over time.

  • Kidney diseases in which the kidneys are unable to make enough erythropoietin, a substance needed to make red blood cells, may also be a cause for low MCHC.

  • Your body may find it difficult to use iron if it has suffered conditions that cause long-lasting inflammation, leading to low MCHC.

  • Individuals suffering from thalassemia, a condition where the body does not make enough haemoglobin, can cause low MCHC levels.

Causes of High MCHC

  • Similar to low MCHC, anaemia is one of the major high MCHC causes. However, a different type of anaemia, hemolytic anaemia, may lead to high MCHC levels. This type of anaemia is typically caused due to infections, autoimmune conditions, complications arising during blood transfusion and sickle cell disease.

  • Genetic conditions like hereditary spherocytosis are also one of the high MCHC causes.

MCHC Test Procedure

If your doctor suspects that there may be a deviation in our MCHC normal range, they may ask you to take a complete blood count (CBC) test. Although a regular CBC does not require special preparation, here is a walk-through of the complete test procedure.

Before the Test

No dietary or activity restrictions before taking a CBC

Take an appointment and carry previous reports for reference

During the Test

The lab technician cleanses the area from where the blood must be drawn. The needle is then inserted into the vein, and the blood is drawn.

A sharp poke is felt when the needle is inserted. Some people may feel lightheaded or even faint. Inform the lab technician if you experience such an issue.

Once the sample is taken, a bandage is applied to the area to keep it clean and stop the bleeding.

After the Test

Typically, there are no major side effects after undergoing this test.

Some may feel pain in the area where the needle was inserted in case of multiple attempts to draw blood.

In rare cases, some may encounter bleeding or large bruises, for which one must consult a doctor immediately.

There is a small risk of bacterial infection due to the insertion of needles.

Treatment for High or Low MCHC

Treatment for high or low MCHC depends mainly on the underlying cause. Doctors may advise iron, folate, or vitamin B12 supplements to treat the level over and below the range.

  • Common sources of Vitamin B12 and folate are:

  • Eggs and poultry

  • Lentils, fortified grains and cereals

  • Dark, leafy greens

If a patient suffers from serious genetic anaemia, the doctor may suggest blood transfusions, medication, or bone marrow transplants, depending on the severity of the condition.

Importance of Health Insurance Plan

Taking care of one's health has become an utmost priority. One way to ensure you get timely medical attention is to have adequate health insurance coverage. Medical insurance safeguards you during medical emergencies, provides exposure to the best treatment available, options for cashless benefits, etc. One of the lesser-known advantages is the health insurance tax benefits these plans offer.

Consider buying medical insurance from a trusted provider like Tata AIG, wherein you can compare, buy or renew medical insurance online. Apart from our comprehensive health insurance plans offering various benefits, you also get access to a vast network of hospitals, 24/7 assistance, and other online features at an affordable price.

Wrapping Up

The MCHC test values can be seen in the CBC report. However, it makes more sense to avoid considering only the MCHC value to come to a conclusion. When these test levels are combined with other results on a CBC report, it can help discover the causes of anaemia in many cases.

It may also help predict the prognosis or diagnosis in those without anaemia. Undertaking various tests can be tiring for individuals, both physically and financially. Eating a balanced diet, exercising regularly, and maintaining healthy lifestyle habits is always recommended.

FAQs

What is MCHC in blood tests?

Mean corpuscular haemoglobin (MCH) in a blood test refers to measuring average haemoglobin in a red blood cell.

What happens if the MCHC count is low or high?

Both high or low MCHC levels may indicate a certain type of anaemia.

What is a good MCHC level?

MCHC's normal range is typically between 32 to 36 grams/deciliter.

Disclaimer / TnC

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