Low MCH, High MCH: What Do Your Blood Test Results Mean?

Low MCH (Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin) and High MCH are two factors that could show up in your blood test results. MCH refers to the average amount of hemoglobin in a single red blood cell. Hemoglobin is what helps your blood carry oxygen. When MCH is low, it often means there’s not enough iron in the body. When MCH is high, it may signal a problem with the size of the red blood cells. Both of these can affect your health in different ways.

What is MCH?

MCH stands for Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin. It’s a measure that tells you the average amount of hemoglobin found in a single red blood cell. Hemoglobin is a protein in your blood that helps carry oxygen to your cells and return carbon dioxide to your lungs.

MCH ranges

Below is a table that outlines the typical MCH ranges. These values can help determine whether the MCH levels are low, normal, or high. Please note that these values might vary slightly depending on the laboratory and the units used, so always consult with your healthcare provider for the most accurate interpretation.

MCH LevelRange (in picograms, pg)What It Might Indicate
Low MCHBelow 27 pgIron deficiency, chronic diseases
Normal MCH27 – 31 pgNormal red blood cell hemoglobin content
High MCHAbove 31 pgVitamin B12 or folate deficiency

These ranges provide a general idea of what the MCH values mean in a typical blood test. If your test results fall outside the normal range, it’s essential to discuss them with your healthcare provider, who can interpret them in the context of your overall health and any specific medical conditions you may have.


Low MCH means that your red blood cells have less hemoglobin than usual. This condition might indicate some health problems.

  1. Iron Deficiency Anemia: If you don’t have enough iron, your body can’t make enough hemoglobin, causing a low MCH value.
  2. Chronic Diseases: Conditions like chronic kidney disease can result in low MCH.

Symptoms of Low MCH

Low MCH can make you feel tired and weak. Your skin might look paler than usual, and you might get headaches and chest pain more often.

Causes of Low MCH

Low MCH usually means that there isn’t enough iron in your body. This might be because:

  • You’re not eating enough iron-rich foods like meat, spinach, and beans.
  • Your body has trouble absorbing iron from the food you eat.
  • You lose too much iron, maybe from heavy periods or donating blood too often.

Treatment for Low MCH

Treatment might include:

  • Eating more foods with iron or taking iron supplements.
  • Finding out if there’s a medical reason for the low iron and treating that.
  • Following up with regular blood tests to keep an eye on things.

High MCH

High MCH means that the hemoglobin in your red blood cells is above the typical level. It’s something that needs attention.

Symptoms of High MCH

Symptoms might include fatigue, weakness, numbness, shortness of breath, difficulty concentrating, and very pale or yellowish skin.

Causes of High MCH

High MCH usually means that the red blood cells are larger than normal. This can happen for many reasons, such as:

  • Vitamin B12 or folic acid deficiency.
  • Problems with how your body makes red blood cells.
  • Certain medicines or alcohol affecting the red blood cells.

Treatment for High MCH

Just like with low MCH, the treatment for high MCH depends on the cause. This might include:

  • Eating more foods rich in Vitamin B12 and folic acid.
  • Changing a medication if it’s causing the problem.
  • Keeping up with regular check-ups to monitor the situation.

Why is it Important to Know About MCH?

Knowing about MCH levels helps your doctor figure out what’s going on inside your body. If you have low or high MCH, it might be a clue to a health problem that needs attention. It also helps you and your doctor come up with the best plan to keep you feeling healthy and strong.

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