What Is the Meaning of Low MCHC in Blood Work?

Low mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration, or MCHC, may mean hypochromic anemia, according to MedlinePlus. A normal MCHC is 32 to 36 grams per deciliter. Lead poisoning, inflammation and iron deficiency can all cause hypochromic anemia. It can also be caused by a disease called thalassemia.

In hypochromic anemia, the red blood cells are smaller than usual, explains Genetics Home Reference. Because they are depleted of hemoglobin, they are also paler than normal. Patients are pale and suffer from fatigue and weakness. The condition may also be iron-refractory because oral supplementation with iron does not improve it and iron given intravenously does not improve it as much as it should. Iron-refractory iron deficiency is inherited. Fortunately, the condition is often so mild that the person doesn’t seek medical treatment.

Lead poisoning occurs when the toxic metal builds up in the body over a long period of time, says Mayo Clinic. Besides hypochromic anemia, signs of lead poisoning in children include weight loss, failure to develop properly, lethargy and difficulty learning. In adults, it leads to pain in the joints and muscles, headache, memory loss and fertility problems.

Thalassemia is also an inherited disorder, notes Healthline. In this condition, hemoglobin produced by the body is abnormal and destroys red blood cells.