MCV is an acronym for Red Blood Cell Medium Volume. There are three types of cells in the blood: red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. The MCV blood test measures the average size of red blood cells (also called red blood cells). Red blood cells carry oxygen from the lungs to all cells in the body.
Cells need oxygen to grow, reproduce, and stay healthy. If the red blood cells are too small or too large, it can be a sign of a blood disease, such as anemia, vitamin deficiencies, or other medical problems.
What is the MCV blood test used for?
The MCV blood test is usually part of a complete blood count (CBC), which is a routine test that measures many components of the blood, including red blood cells. It is also used to diagnose or control certain blood diseases.
Why do I need to do a MCV blood test?
Your doctor or healthcare professional may order a complete blood count, including a blood test for MCV, as part of a routine exam, or you may have symptoms of a blood disease, such as:
- Unusual bruising or bleeding
- Cold hands or feet
What happens during an MCV blood test?
During this test, medical staff will use a small needle to collect a blood sample from a vein in your arm. After inserting the needle, he draws a small amount of blood and places it in a test tube or vial. You may feel mild discomfort when inserting or removing the needle, but the process generally takes less than five minutes.
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How to prepare for the VAW test?
The VCM blood test does not require any special preparation. If your doctor or healthcare professional has done other tests on your blood sample, you may need to fast (not eat or drink) for several hours before the test. Your doctor or healthcare professional will tell you if you need to follow any special instructions.
Is this test risky?
The risk of blood tests is minimal. You may feel mild pain or bruising where the needle is inserted, but most symptoms will go away quickly.
What does the result mean?
If your results indicate that your red blood cells are smaller than normal, it may indicate:
- Iron deficiency or other anemia
- Anemia is a medical problem in which the number of red blood cells in the blood is abnormally low. Iron deficiency anemia is the most common type
- Thalassemia: a genetic disease that causes severe anemia.
If your results show that your red blood cells are larger than normal, it may indicate:
- Vitamin B12 deficiency
- Folic acid deficiency, another B vitamin
- Liver disease
If your VAW level is not within the normal range, it does not necessarily mean that you have a medical problem that requires treatment. Diet, activity level, medications, the woman’s menstrual cycle, and other factors will affect the results. To understand what your results mean, consult your doctor or healthcare professional.
Learn more about medical tests, reference ranges, and how to interpret results.
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Is there anything else i need to know about the MCV blood test?
If your doctor or health care professional suspects that you have anemia or another blood disease, he or she may order other red blood cell tests, such as a red blood cell count and a hemoglobin measurement.