Q:

What is MCHC in a blood test?

A:

Quick Answer

According to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry, MCHC is the mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration, a calculation of the average percentage of hemoglobin inside a red blood cell. The mean corpuscular hemoglobin is a calculation of the average amount of oxygen-carrying hemoglobin inside a red blood cell.

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The American Association for Clinical Chemistry notes that other red blood cell indicators reflect the mean corpuscular volume, which is a measurement of the average size of red blood cells. Additionally, the red cell distribution width indicates the calculation of the variation in the size of red blood cells.

Evaluation of red blood cells is part of the complete blood cell count lab screening test that determines the general health of an individual. According to the American Association for Clinical Chemistry, red blood cell evaluation and hemoglobin evaluation align. Hemoglobin is a protein that carries oxygen in the blood. Anemia results from a low level of hemoglobin. Causes of anemia include acute or chronic bleeding, red blood cell destruction (known as hemolytic anemia), certain nutritional deficiencies, bone marrow disorders or damage, chronic inflammatory disease and kidney failure. Polycythemia indicates high levels of hemoglobin; its causes are dehydration, lung disease, kidney or other tumor that produces excess erythropoietin, smoking, certain genetic causes and polycythemia vera.

Complete blood cell counts also evaluate white blood cell count, white blood cell differential, the evaluation of platelets and the body's reticulocyte count. This measures the absolute count of young red blood cells present.

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