MCHC: What It Is, Symptoms, Causes, Treatment, and More

Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) is a measure of the average amount of hemoglobin in red blood cells with hemoglobin being responsible for transporting oxygen throughout your body. Low MCHC levels can indicate anemia, which is a condition that occurs when there are not enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body's tissues. Also, low MCHC levels can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on the underlying cause and, in some cases, it may require treatment. In this article, we will discuss what MCHC is, what causes low MCHC levels, and how they are treated.

Share This Post

Mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) is a measure of the average amount of hemoglobin in red blood cells with hemoglobin being responsible for transporting oxygen throughout your body.

Low MCHC levels can indicate anemia, which is a condition that occurs when there are not enough healthy red blood cells to carry adequate oxygen to your body's tissues.

Also, low MCHC levels can cause a variety of symptoms, depending on the underlying cause and, in some cases, it may require treatment.

In this article, we will discuss what MCHC is, what causes low MCHC levels, and how they are treated.

mchc image

What does MCHC mean?

As noted above, MCHC stands for mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration.

Hemoglobin is a protein that carries oxygen in your blood from your respiratory system.

Low levels of hemoglobin can indicate that you may have anemia which causes fatigue and other symptoms.

What are the symptoms of low MCHC?

There are a number of different symptoms that you may display if you have a low concentration of hemoglobin, these include:

  • Fatigue
  • Weakness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Being tired constantly
  • Pale skin, flushed skin, or even yellow skin
  • Pale gums
  • Fast heartbeat or irregular heartbeat
  • Dizziness
  • Headaches
  • Inability to concentrate
  • Chest pain
  • Bruising easily
  • Cold feet and hands

If you have these symptoms and are concerned about low MCHC levels, please contact your doctor or health care provider.

What causes low MCHC?

Anemia is the primary cause of low levels of MCHC, although there are several different types which we will detail below.

The reason you may have anemia is due to a deficiency in iron, folic acid, or vitamin B12.

You can also have anemia if you lose blood quickly, are pregnant, or if your body does not produce enough red blood cells.

There are several different types of anemias which include:

Iron deficiency anemia

Iron deficiency anemia is the most common type of anemia. The lack of iron in your body causes the red blood cells to be smaller and to have less hemoglobin.

Pernicious anemia

If you have pernicious anemia, also called vitamin B12 anemia, it means that your body does not have enough vitamin B12.

Vitamin B12 is found in animal products such as meat, poultry, fish, eggs, and milk and this type of anemia can be caused by a lack of this vitamin in your diet or your body not being able to absorb B12.

Aplastic anemia

Aplastic anemia is a rare type of anemia and it occurs when your body has a low number of red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets which can be caused by certain medications, cancer, or autoimmune diseases.

Hemolytic anemia

Hemolytic anemia is another rare type of anemia and it occurs when your red blood cells are destroyed before the end of their lifespan and your bone marrow can not replace them fast enough.

The different medical problems besides anemia that can lead to low levels of MCHC include:

  • Chemotherapy
  • Cancer
  • Tumors in your intestines
  • Inflammation disorders such as inflammatory bowel disease or celiac disease
  • Kidney disease
  • Liver disease
  • Liver disorders such as porphyria
  • Bone marrow disorders
  • Urinary tract infections
  • Enlarged spleen
  • Lead poisoning
  • Parasitic infections
  • Thalassemia, which is a group of blood disorders that decreases hemoglobin production
  • Vasculitis, which is a group of disorders that destroys your blood vessels and causes inflammation
  • Hemolysis, which is the destruction of blood cells and can be caused many things and it often leads to sepsis

How do doctors diagnose low MCHC levels?

In order to diagnose low MCHC levels, your doctor will likely do a physical examination and ask you about your medical history.

If anemia is thought to be caused by a deficiency, your doctor may ask about your diet and if you have been taking any supplements.

They will also order a blood test in order to check the hemoglobin, hematocrit, mean corpuscular volume (MCV), mean corpuscular hemoglobin (MCH), and mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration (MCHC) levels.

Additional blood tests such as a complete blood count (CBC) may also be used, which is a blood cell count used to assess if you are in the normal range for red blood cells and white blood cells.

The blood test will also check for anemia, iron deficiency, vitamin B12, folate, ferritin, and other things that may indicate anemia.

If blood loss is thought to be the issue your doctor may ask if you have long, heavy, menstrual cycles if you are a woman or if you have rectal bleeding.

Your doctor may also perform an endoscopy, which is a camera on a flexible tube that allow them to see your gastrointestinal tract, or an X-ray to search for any internal bleeding.

What are the treatment options for low MCHC levels?

The treatment options for low MCHC levels will depend on the underlying cause of the condition. If you have anemia, your doctor may recommend iron supplements, a change in your diet, or vitamin B12 injections.

If you have pernicious anemia, you will likely need to take vitamin B12 shots or pills for the rest of your life.

If you have aplastic anemia, you may need blood transfusions, immunosuppressive therapy, or stem cell transplantation.

If you have hemolytic anemia, you may need blood transfusions, immunosuppressive therapy, or splenectomy. If your low MCHC levels are caused by another medical condition, such as kidney disease, your doctor will likely treat the underlying condition.

What are the complications of low MCHC levels?

Hypoxia, which is when your body tissues and organs do not get enough oxygen, can be caused by having very low levels of MCHC.

If you have hypoxia, you may experience shortness of breath, chest pain, irregular heartbeat, confusion, or seizures. If not treated quickly, hypoxia can lead to organ damage or death.

Can I prevent low MCHC levels?

There is no guaranteed way to prevent low MCHC levels, but you can help lower your risk by eating a healthy diet, taking supplements if recommended by your doctor, and getting regular checkups.

Taking vitamin B6 will also help as it is needed by your body for the absorption of iron. Vitamin C is also necessary for the production of new blood cells along with vitamin B12 and folate.

If you have an underlying medical condition that can cause low MCHC levels, it is important to manage the condition and take any medications as prescribed.

Summary

MCHC is the mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration and it is a measure of the level of hemoglobin in your red blood cells.

Low MCHC levels can be caused by several different forms of anemia or other medical conditions like cancer or pregnancy among many others.

The treatment options will depend on the underlying cause. Some potential complications of low MCHC levels include hypoxia and organ damage.

You can help lower your risk by eating a healthy diet, taking supplements if recommended by your doctor, and getting regular checkups.

If you have an underlying medical condition that can cause low MCHC levels, it is important to manage the condition and take any medications as prescribed.

If you have any more questions about low levels of MCHC or anemia, please talk to your doctor or medical provider.

References and Sources:

http://www.meddean.luc.edu/lumen/meded/medicine/medclerk/2004_05/level1/cbcanemia/cbclesson.htm

https://labtestsonline.org/tests/red-cell-indices

https://www.hopkinsmedicine.org/health/treatment-tests-and-therapies/upper-gastrointestinal-series

Sesame Care

Find the best price for great doctors and specialists

  • Thousands of doctors and specialists
  • $13,000,000+ saved by patients
  • 95% patient satisfaction
  • 4.3 on TrustPilot
     

Popular Destinations

Health

Medication

Telehealth Reviews

Shop

Pharmacist Membership

About Us

Pharmacy Near Me

Recent Articles

Share On:

Subscribe To Our Newsletter

Get updates and learn from the best

More To Explore

How Often Should You Get an Eye Exam?

There is no “one size fits all” answer when it comes to how often you should get an eye exam, as the recommended frequency

The different types of lie bumps: Transient lingual papillitis, fungiform papillae, and other forms

Transient lingual papillitis is a condition where there are transient swellings on your tongue called lie bumps. They can be caused

Iron Infusions: Everything You Need to Know

Iron-deficiency anemia is a common condition that can cause fatigue, shortness of breath, and other health problems. If you are suffering from iron-deficiency anemia,

What Is Genomic Medicine?

Genomic medicine uses our genetic information to provide individualized health care. Various gene therapies can potentially cure rare diseases or conditions. Genetic testing allows

Chigger Bite: Everything You Need to Know 

Do you know what chiggers are? If not, you're not alone. Many people have never heard of chiggers before, but they can be a

What Are the Benefits of Manuka Honey?

Manuka honey is a unique type of honey that is produced in New Zealand and Australia as it is made by bees from the

How Often Can I Take Tylenol?

We’ve all suffered from mild to moderate pain or a fever at some point in our lives, and for many of us, we’ve likely

Coffee: Potential Benefits and Adverse Effects

In this article, we will explore coffee's history, its potential benefits, and if it is safe for everyone to consume.

Parosmia: What it is, Symptoms, Causes, and Treatment

Parosmia is an olfactory disorder where you have a distorted perception of smell and you may smell odors differently than you should. It can

What Is Levofloxacin?

Whether you’re currently fighting off pneumonia, have recently been exposed to inhalational anthrax, or are hoping to prevent infection with the plague (yes, that

Brown Recluse Spider Bites: What You Need to Know

In this article, we will discuss the symptoms of being bitten by a brown recluse spider, when to seek medical attention, and how to

What Is the Drug Levofloxacin Used For?

What happens when your doctor prescribes an antibiotic for a minor infection and it doesn’t work, or you come down with a serious case

Comparison of Azithromycin and Clarithromycin

Azithromycin and clarithromycin are both macrolide antibiotics used to treat a number of different bacterial infections, including upper respiratory tract infections, lower respiratory tract

What are the Symptoms of Coffee Withdrawal?

Due to the prevalence of coffee, tea, soft drinks, and energy drinks, caffeine is one of the most popular drugs in the world and

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Quercetin

Quercetin is a powerful antioxidant and quercetin supplements are often taken as a way to support good health. Quercetin can also

How Much Does the Shingrix Vaccine Cost?

About 99 percent of American adults have had chickenpox, and many incorrectly assume that this makes them immune to shingles later in life. Shingles,

All You Need to Know About Ringworm: Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Ringworm is a fungal infection that can be seen on the skin. It can affect both children and adults, but it's most common in

CBD Oil: What You Need to Know

CBD oil is a popular natural remedy used for many common ailments. CBD is short for cannabidiol and it is one of over 100 chemical

The Top 7 Best CBD Lotions of 2023

CBD, or cannabidiol, is a cannabinoid that is found in cannabis and hemp plants. It has many supposed beneficial properties for the skin, making

CBD Topical Cream for Blemishes

If you are tired of dealing with sore, spotty skin and it is a problem that you still experience on a daily basis, now