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The Importance of MCV in your Blood Count (3)

The MCV value provides important information about the health of your blood cells. An abnormal value is a signal to look further.


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What is MCV?

The MCV, or mean corpuscular volume, measures how big your red blood cells are on average. This is expressed in femtoliters, a tiny unit of volume. In simple terms, the MCV number tells us whether red blood cells are larger or smaller than average. This is important because red blood cell size can help detect different types of anemia and other health problems.

What Does a Normal or Abnormal MCV Value Mean?

The "normal" size of red blood cells is between 80 and 96 femtoliters. Depending on your age and gender, these values may vary slightly, so it is a good idea to check the reference values on your lab report.

If your MCV value deviates more than 10% from this normal range, there is an abnormality:

  • Microcytic anemia: With a low MCV (<80 fL), your red blood cells are smaller than normal. This often occurs with:
    • iron deficiency,
    • thalassemia (sickle cell disease) or
    • long-term (chronic) illnesses.
  • Macrocytic anemia: With a high MCV (>96 fL), your red blood cells are larger than normal. This may indicate:
    • A deficiency of vitamin B12 or.
    • A deficiency of folic acid,
    • excessive alcohol consumption or
    • a slow-working thyroid gland (hypothyroidism)

Steps for Abnormal MCV Values

  1. Consult your doctor or book a consultation with one of the lifestyle doctors at blood value test: An abnormal MCV should always be looked at by a doctor to determine the correct cause.

  2. Additional blood tests: Depending on your MCV value and symptoms, your doctor may suggest additional tests:

  3. Follow medical advice: Depending on the outcomes, your doctor may recommend specific treatments, such as iron supplements or vitamin injections.

Deeper Research for Greater Insight

  • Genetic testing: When genetic disorders are suspected, this type of test can provide more clarity. (IGene)
  • Liver function tests: The liver plays a crucial role in storing vitamins and producing blood cells, so these tests may be relevant.
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