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
  • Increased Folic Acid Need
  • Thalassemia
  • Manganese 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:
mild diesel exhaust exposure
dark areas under eyes
hepatitis A
very slow scalp hair growth
recent onset abdominal pain
constant fatigue
poor milk production
history of folic acid deficiency
high serum iron
numb/burning/tingling extremities
low folic acid level
highly elevated lymphocyte count
... and more than 40 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 98% Confirm
Thalassemia 24% Unlikely
Manganese Need 17% Unlikely
Metal Toxicity 5% Ruled out
Parasite Infection 5% Ruled out
Increased Folic Acid Need 3% Ruled out
Sideroblastic Anemia 0% Ruled out
Hepatitis 0% 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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