High Levels of MCH: What Does It Mean?

Each Red Blood Cell (RBC) contains hemoglobin which is required for the transportation of oxygen from the lungs to the other parts of the body through the blood stream. The calculation of the concentration of hemoglobin found in a red blood cell is expressed in the form of MCH otherwise known as Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin. If you have high MCH or low MCH, there would be somthing wrong. The formula used for calculating MCH involves multiplication of the total hemoglobin content in the body by 10 and then dividing the result with the total RBC count.

Normal Level of MCH

Your MCH level would be considered normal if it lies anywhere between the values of 26 and 33 measured picograms (one trillionth of a gram), of hemoglobin for every red blood cell. A picogram is an extremely small unit used for measuring weight.

However, this range is not permanent and can vary if the blood test is performed on a different machine. Always use the normal range printed on the lab report to decide what range is normal

High MCH

The value of MCH would be considered as high if it is in excess of 34 picograms. Usually a high value of MCH indicates that you are suffering from macrocytic anemia. The cause of this blood disorder is a deficiency of a vitamin known by the name of Folic Acid or vitamin B12. This vitamin contains carbon in abundance and is required by the body in small amounts for performing important chemical processes and for the body to function at peak level. People suffering from macrocytic anemia cannot produce red blood cells in a sufficient quantity which means they have more hemoglobin content present in them than ordinary red blood cells.


Your MCH level would be considered as low if its value is under 26 picograms, which is clearly different from high MCH. There are a number of reasons that can contribute to a person having a low MCH level. The most common one is blood loss, while the other causes include Hemoglobinopathy, microcytic anemia and an acute iron deficiency. Hemoglobinopathy is a broader term for a class of blood disorders in which the molecular structure of hemoglobin is altered resulting in a lower MCH value. A person suffering from microcytic anemia on the other hand has smaller sized red blood cells, which means that there is a low content of hemoglobin present in them. The cause of this blood disorder is usually a deficiency of iron in the body. Due to the presence of lower levels of hemoglobin in the body, the patients of microcytic anemia do not have a healthy transportation of oxygen in their bodies.

MCV Levels

You will find the terms MCV and MCH in the report of the CBC (Complete Blood Count) test. Both MCV and MCH are collectively given the medical name Red Blood Cell Indices. These levels indicate the size of an RBC and the concentration of hemoglobin in a red blood cell respectively. Usually, a physician orders the CBC test when he wants to have a look at the levels of the various components of blood in your system. After knowing high MCH and low MCH, you would also like to know the meaning of high or low MCV. 

General Information

MCV is the short form for Mean Corpuscular Volume and is calculated by dividing the total volume of packed red blood cells (also known as hematocrit) by the total number of red blood cells. The normal value for MCV lies in the range between 80 and 100 and is measured in femtoliters. A femtoliter is a very small unit for measuring volume and is equivalent to 10-15L. This range is just for reference though, and might vary if the test is performed on a different machine. So, always trust those normal level ranges that are printed on your lab report when checking whether your MCV level is normal, low or high.

High MCV

Your MCV level would be considered high if it is in excess of 100 femtoliters. A high MCV level indicates that you have larger red blood cells than a normal person. People having a high MCV level usually are patients of hemolytic anemia or suffer from a condition known as pernicious anemia. Both of these blood disorders can be caused due to a number of factors among which low levels of vitamin B12 which is also known by the name of Folic Acid and excessive consumption of alcohol. You can also become a patient of these two kinds of anemia if you do not take a proper diet or have a deficiency of iron in your body.


Your MCV level would be considered low if its value is less than 80 femtoliters. Low levels of MCV are an indication that your red blood cells are smaller in volume and are therefore not able to hold a sufficient quantity of hemoglobin in them. Having a low MCV level means that you might be a patient of thalassemia or have been suffering from a disorder known as iron deficiency anemia. Gastrointestinal blood loss is another of the reasons that can account for a low MCV level.

People who are suffering from a high or low MCV level almost always have some kind of anemia which can only be diagnosed by a physician. Thus, it is important that you consult a physician at your earliest if you find your MCH or MCV levels above or below the normal range.

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