Your Mean Corpuscular Volume Values

What Causes Abnormal Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV)?

Abnormal mean corpuscular volume can have various causes, ranging in severity from 'worrying' to 'generally fatal'.  Finding the true cause means ruling out or confirming each possibility – in other words, diagnosis.

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Diagnosis is usually a complex process due to the sheer number of possible causes and related symptoms.  In order to diagnose abnormal mean corpuscular volume, we could:

  • Research the topic
  • Find a doctor with the time
  • Use a diagnostic computer system.
The process is the same, whichever method is used.

Step 1: List all Possible Causes

We begin by identifying the disease conditions which have "abnormal mean corpuscular volume" as a symptom.  Here are eight of many possibilities (more below):
  • Metal Toxicity
  • Megaloblastic Anemia
  • Sideroblastic Anemia
  • Parasite Infection
  • Hepatitis
  • Cirrhosis Of The Liver
  • Hypothyroidism
  • Vitamin B6 Need

Step 2: Build a Symptom Checklist

We then identify all possible symptoms and risk factors of each possible cause, and check the ones that apply:
cigarette smoke sensitivity
tongue soreness
hyperthyroidism in family members
dark urine color
blood transfusions
joint pain/swelling/stiffness
having low-normal TT4 level
regular unexplained nausea
history of birth control pill use
frequent unexplained vomiting
bags under eyes
Heberden's nodes
... and more than 90 others

Step 3: Rule Out or Confirm each Possible Cause

A differential diagnosis of your symptoms and risk factors finds the likely cause of abnormal mean corpuscular volume:
Cause Probability Status
Megaloblastic Anemia 92% Confirm
Parasite Infection 23% Unlikely
Vitamin B6 Need 16% Unlikely
Hypothyroidism 4% Ruled out
Hepatitis 3% Ruled out
Sideroblastic Anemia 2% Ruled out
Metal Toxicity 2% Ruled out
Cirrhosis Of The Liver 1% Ruled out
* This is a simple example to illustrate the process

Arriving at a Correct Diagnosis

The Analyst™ is our online diagnosis tool that learns all about you through a straightforward process of multi-level questioning, providing diagnosis at the end.

If you indicate having had recent lab tests, The Analyst™ will ask further questions including this one:
Mean Corpuscular Volume (MCV). Unit: Femtoliters; fL
Possible responses:
→ Don't know
→ Below 75
→ 75 to 81
→ 82 to 98 (normal)
→ Over 98
Based on your response to this question, which may indicate microcytic red cells, normocytic red cells or macrocytic red cells, The Analyst™ will consider possibilities such as:
Heavy Metal Toxicity

Lead poisoning can lead to the formation of small red blood cells.


Chronic hepatitis can cause enlarged red blood cells.

Parasite Infection

Fish tapeworm infestation can cause enlarged red blood cells.

Vitamin B6 Requirement

Pyridoxine-responsive anemia is indicated by small red blood cells.

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