The MCV blood test is a component of the complete blood count or CBC. MCV means mean cell volume or mean corpuscular volume. It measures the average size of red blood cells which are also termed as erythrocytes. To know your MCV is necessary to ascertain that you are in good health. Moreover, it is a good way to find out if you have an illness which could still be asymptomatic. This denotes that the person does not experience any kind of symptoms.
A CBC is done by extracting blood from the vein. Usually, it is performed in the upper extremity on the area of the elbow. The blood is extracted through a syringe. It can also be extracted through a prick on the finger or on the heel. More often than not, fingerprick is used for infants and young kids. For the newborn babies, heel prick is used. When the blood is already extracted, this will be sent to the laboratory for analysis.
MCV is calculated in fL or femtoliters. Its normal value is approximately eighty to one hundred fL. However, the normal range can differ slightly in various laboratories. If RBCs are macrocytic, the person’s MCV will be increased. This indicates that they are bigger compared to their normal size. When RBCs are microcytic, the MCV will below its normal value. Microcytic signifies that RBCs are tinier compared to their usual size.
Red blood cells have important roles in the body. Their primary function is to carry hemoglobin. Hemoglobin transports oxygen from the lungs to the tissues all over the body. These red blood cells will aid in the excretion of carbon dioxide from the body. In addition, RBCs will also transport carbon dioxide from the tissue to the lungs where it will be expelled.
The MCV is increased in conditions like pernicious anemia, hemolytic anemia as well as anemia resulting from deficiencies if folic acid and vitamin B12. Also, MCV can be increased in individuals who are heavy alcoholic drinkers. For those who have chronic diseases, iron deficiency anemia or thalassemia, the MCV is below its normal range. For people with bloody stools, a low value of MCV can indicate the possibility of malignancy in the gastrointestinal system.