What is MCH test?

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MCH test refers to a blood test to know the levels of Mean Corpuscular Hemoglobin. Hemoglobin is the part of the blood that carries oxygen with it and it is important to have this monitored through the MCH test.  Hemoglobin or MCH is also an important indicator of the Iron content in the blood which gives the red blood cells its color.  Typically, MCH test is part of a CBC or complete blood count, a general blood test that measures various important cells in the blood.

Normal values for the MCH test typically range from 26 and 33 pg per cell.  For individuals who undergo a complete blood count, checking MCH levels is made easy by comparing the result with the printed normal ranges.  Any value or level that falls below the normal range is labelled as Low MCH and may be due to iron deficiency.  When a person has Low MCH, doctors may prescribe iron supplements or diet suggestions that include iron-rich foods.  Higher than normal values of MCH meanwhile may point to a variety of conditions.  One such condition is called microcytic anemia.  This condition is characterized by low values of Vitamin B12 in the blood.  Abnormally high MCH test results may also point to problems to the thyroid gland.  This gland basically functions to secrete important hormones for various functions and the body and when it encounters problems, it may present with more than the normal amount of Mean Corpuscle Hemoglobin in the blood.  There are also cases that other substances in the blood like some vitamins will cause the elevation of MCH levels.

As part of the normal blood screening or CBC procedure, there is no requirement or specific preparation when getting an MCH test.  In some cases though, some doctors may ask patients to avoid eating fatty foods several hours before any blood test.  Otherwise, one may avail of the MCH test through a CBC any time.  The simple procedure involves extracting blood from the vein with the sample studied in the laboratory.  Results are often available within a few hours or the next day depending on the laboratory who administered the MCH test.

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