What is MCHC in a blood test?

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What is MCHC in a blood test?
(blood test equipment image by Dauf from Fotolia.com)

Blood tests let doctors know about many possible health conditions. The letters and what they mean often mean nothing to those uninitiated into the medical mysteries. MCHC, which stands for mean corpuscular haemoglobin concentration, is one of the many acronyms that come back on medical test results that confuse the patient but are meaningful to the doctor.

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Significance

This identifier in a blood test can help a doctor diagnose a patient with anaemia. Patients whose levels fall within the normal ranges do not need to worry about having anaemia. A low MCHC count alone does not give a medical professional enough information to make a specific diagnosis.

What Does MCHC Measure?

MCHC and MCV, or mean corpuscular volume, levels are both used to test a person for anaemia. MCHC tests for the levels of haemoglobin in the blood. This test is also referred to as an MCH test. The letters mean corpuscular haemoglobin.

What Does a Low MCHC Count Mean?

A low MCHC number might indicate the presence of anaemia, but other factors will be measured as well before making this diagnosis. The mean corpuscular volume indicates the size of the red blood cells in a person's body.

Normal MCHC Concentrations

MHCH is measured in grams per decilitre (a decilitre is one tenth of a litre). The normal range value for this is 31 to 35 grams per decilitre.

Treating Anemia

The doctor will use these numbers to help determine what kind of anaemia a patient suffers from. Iron deficiency is the most common cause, and a change in diet should cause the blood to return to its normal state within a couple of weeks once the iron levels have been replenished.

Other causes require different treatment, and a physician will prescribe the proper course of action in his patient to cause the MCHC and MCV counts to return to normal levels.

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