What Does Decreased MCH and Elevated RDW Mean in a Blood Test?

In a blood test, a decreased mean corpuscular hemoglobin, MCH, and elevated red cell distribution width, or RDW, value means a low red blood cell count, which indicates anemia, states WebMD. Normal adult MCH and RDW values are 28 to 34 picograms per cell and 11.5 to 14.5 percent respectively.

A complete blood count, or CBC, is a blood test that screens for diseases in the blood, states Mayo Clinic. Doctors use CBC test results to get an overview of an individual’s health status and to diagnose and monitor medical conditions and treatments. The CBC measures blood components such as red blood cells, white blood cells, hemoglobin, hematocrit and platelets. An anomalous increase or decrease in the counts indicates a medical disorder that requires further assessment.

Depending on the component, abnormal results mean different things, MedlinePlus explains. For the red blood cells or hematocrit, a high count may result from conditions such as dehydration or kidney disease, while a low count may indicate disorders such as anemia or autoimmune diseases. A low white blood cell count may result from bone marrow failure or liver disease, and a high one indicates conditions such as leukemia or inflammatory diseases. For hemoglobin, low values usually indicate blood loss or various types of anemia.