MPV Blood Test: What It Means and What It Tells About Your Health

MPV Blood Test: What It Means and What It Tells About Your Health
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MPV blood test measures the mean platelet volume in your red blood cell count. The MPV test results are usually part of a complete blood cell (CBC) test that is part of routine blood testing. The average size of your platelets can help doctors identify certain blood disorders and help diagnose underlying health conditions.

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If the mean platelet volume is too low, then it could indicate that platelets are getting destroyed too quickly. This is often due to inflammatory conditions in the body and can cause anemia. Blood tests that show larger than normal MPV could indicate that you have a vitamin D deficiency or are at risk from cardiovascular diseases.

In this article, you will learn what it means to have high mean platelet volume and what low MPV means. You will also learn about some of the reasons for abnormal MPV readings. You will also find out what you can do if your CBC blood test shows high MPV.

What is MPV Blood Test and What is it Used For?

The mean platelet volume is routinely tested as part of the complete blood cell count that doctors use to check the health of your blood.

Platelets are small red blood cells that are essential for blood clotting. According to the journal Blood Cells, MPV blood test is used for detecting platelet disorders. Low MPV in blood test can also help to diagnose are iron deficiency, sepsis, inflammatory conditions, infections, and anemia.1

A clinic specializing in blood testing says that high mean platelet volume can be used to diagnose health risks associated with cardiovascular problems. This can also be an indicator if an individual is at a high risk of a myocardial infarction (heart attack) and stroke.2

Other readings that doctors take into account in a complete blood cell test result are mean corpuscular volume (MCV), average concentration of hemoglobin (MCHC), and red cell distribution width (RDW).

What are Low / Normal / High MPV Levels in Lab Test?

Normal MPV range

The mean platelet volume is measured in femtoliter (fL). According to the journal Thrombosis Research, the normal MPV range should be between 7.2 and 11.7 fL.3

Low MPV results

Low MPV in blood test (below 7 fL) with a low platelet count can mean that there is a disorder affecting platelet production in the bone marrow.

Sometimes, blood tests results show MPV results below the normal range because of platelet clumping. What does it mean to have clumped platelets? The journal Transfusion reports that platelet clumping can sometimes happen due to the way blood is tested.4 However, platelet clumping can also happen due to viral infections in the blood.5

High MPV values

High MPV in blood test (more than 12 fL) with a low platelet count can mean that platelets are entering the blood circulatory system too rapidly.

Symptoms of Abnormal MPV Levels

One of the symptoms of having low MPV levels in your CBC lab test results, is that your blood doesn’t clot easily.

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According to Dr. Charles Patrick Davis on MedicineNet, a low MPV could indicate a problem with platelet production. This can result in feeling tired all the time, prolonged bleeding cuts, unexplained bruising or bruising easily, or unusually heavy menstrual bleeding. You could also suffer from deep vein thrombosis.6

You may not have any visible symptoms if your mean platelet volume is too high. However, because high MPV can indicate that you are at more risk of cardiovascular problems7, you might have chest pains, shortness of breath, racing heartbeat, anxiety, or lightheadedness.

What Causes Low MPV Levels?

Let’s look in more detail at what low MPV levels can tell about your health and the various health conditions that doctors can diagnose.

Low MPV blood test can indicate inflammatory bowel disease

One reason that your blood test results show low MPV is that you have an inflammatory condition of the digestive tract.

According to the American Journal of Gastroenterology, MPV is significantly reduced in people who have inflammatory bowel disease (IBD). It was found that inflammatory conditions like ulcerative colitis and Crohn’s disease caused the average size of platelets to be reduced. This gives doctors a way to help diagnose and monitor the activity of IBD.8

The journal Digestive Diseases and Sciences reported that treatment for IBD helps to increase MPV. When patients were treated with anti-inflammatory drugs for Crohn’s disease, there was a significant rise in MPV over a 14-week period.9

Inflammatory bowel disease is one reason why your digestive system doesn’t work properly. It can cause abdominal muscle spasms, diarrhea after eating, and general discomfort in the abdominal area. According to doctors from the Mayo Clinic, doctors may also take a blood test for anemia and recommend vitamin B-12 shots to help prevent anemia and a vitamin B12 deficiency.

Rheumatoid arthritis and low MPV levels

Rheumatoid arthritis (RA) is another inflammatory condition that can cause low MPV blood test levels.

The journal Rheumatology International reported on a study into the connection of low MPV and autoimmune conditions. It found that testing for mean platelet volume in CBC blood tests in patients with rheumatoid arthritis usually show low MPV levels. Monitoring the activity of platelets can help doctors assess the best treatment for arthritic conditions and monitor the condition better.10

If you suffer from arthritis, then it’s important to know what foods can help or aggravate arthritis. Many people who have arthritis take omega 3 as a natural remedy to reduce inflammation in joints as well as other supplements mentioned in my article about natural treatments for arthritis. Also, turmeric helps to soothe joint inflammation and boost the immune system at the same time.

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Viral infections affect mean platelet volume

Blood test results that show a drop in mean platelet volume could help to diagnose a respiratory viral infection.

According to doctors at the Mayo Clinic, respiratory syncytial virus (RSV) is a common infection of the lungs in persons of all ages. It causes a dry cough, runny nose, a sore throat, and mild headache. Usually, self-care measures to treat the symptoms are enough to treat RSV.11

The International Journal of Infectious Diseases reported that decreased mean platelet volume is often seen in cases of respiratory syncytial virus infections. Checking for low MPV can help doctors assess the severity of the viral infection and recommend the best treatment.12

There are many natural home remedies that boost your respiratory system health. For example, garlic is a great natural antibiotic that can help to clear up chest infections.

Appendicitis cause MPV levels to drop

Low MPV blood test results can help diagnose acute appendicitis.

A study published in the Turkish Journal of Emergency Medicine reported that acute appendicitis can be difficult to diagnose. However, MPV levels were significantly lower than the mean values if the stomach pains were caused by inflammation of the appendix. This information can help doctors make an accurate diagnosis of appendicitis.13

Although your appendix is located on the right side of your lower abdomen, appendicitis pain usually starts as pain around your belly button.

Autoimmune disorders connected with low mean platelet levels

Some autoimmune disorders like lupus can be determined with the help of low MPV in blood test result.

A study in 2017 found that low MPV can help to identify lupus in individuals. Results from blood tests that show MPV values can also help doctors know the extent of the disease.14

Certain cancers

Certain cancers that are connected with the bone marrow can also cause low MPV.

The journal Hematology reported that low MPV along with the platelet distribution width (PDW) can help to give a prognosis of bone marrow metastasis.15

It’s good to remember that low MPV in a blood test doesn’t automatically mean that there is the presence of cancer. There are many causes of low MPV and testing for mean platelet levels in cancer helps doctors recommend the best course of treatment.

What Causes MPV Levels be Too High?

What do high MPV levels mean? Let’s look at some of the most common cause why the average platelet volume could be increased.

Sepsis causes increase in MPV

Sepsis is a life-threatening condition that results in increased mean platelet volume in your blood.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sepsis can be a complication of an infection in the body. It travels through the blood system and can infect other organs. Therefore, quick and accurate diagnosis is needed to provide the best treatment.16

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The journal PLoS One reported that an increase in the mean platelet volume is an indicator of disease and inflammatory conditions. In cases of sepsis, checking the MPV is a way to help doctors know the severity of infection and the individual’s risk of septic shock.17

An increase in immature granulocytes is also another factor in a blood test that doctors will check for if sepsis is suspected.

It’s very important to know the signs and symptoms of sepsis as they can be a combination of a variety of factors.

Vitamin D deficiency and increased MPV levels

Having larger than normal platelets could also be an indicator that you have a vitamin D deficiency.

Vitamin D deficiency is very common among people in general. However, deficiencies in vitamin D can lead to many health problems. For example, asthma, high blood pressure, inflammatory conditions, diabetes, and depression are all linked to a lack of vitamin D.

The journal Annals of Laboratory Medicine reported that there is a strong link between low vitamin D levels and high MPV. The report stated that this combination can also lead to cardiovascular diseases.18

High MPV blood test levels and increased risk of heart attack

High MPV levels could mean that you are at an increased risk of heart disease and heart attack.

The British Journal of Haematology reported that increased MPV in individuals could mean that they are a greater risk of a heart attack. This is especially true if they already have coronary artery disease.19

There are 5 easy ways to reduce your risk of heart attack by over 80%. Being physically active, consuming a healthy diet, and avoiding smoking are simple lifestyle changes that can boost your cardio health.

High blood pressure and MPV levels

High blood pressure can also affect MPV and cause the average size of platelets to increase.

When discussing the link between thrombosis and inflammation, the journal Current Pharmaceutical Design reported that hypertension is connected with high MPV. It was suggested that lowering hypertension through lifestyle changes can help to improve blood health and reduce risks of cardiovascular diseases.20

If you suffer from hypertension, then read my article on how to reduce high blood pressure naturally.

High cholesterol is connected with mean platelet volume

High blood cholesterol can also increase your mean platelet volume and put you at risk of cardiovascular diseases.

The journal Angiology reported that low levels of high-density lipoprotein cholesterol (HDL cholesterol, or “good” cholesterol) has a negative impact on the arteries. It was seen that patients with low HDL cholesterol also had significantly high MPV.21

If you suffer from high cholesterol levels, please read my article about 10 simple and effective ways to lower cholesterol naturally.

Diabetes is associated with high MPV

If you have diabetes, you may also see that blood test results show high MPV and you may also be at a greater risk of heart problems.

According to the Journal of Diabetes Investigation, many patients with diabetes have high levels of LDL cholesterol (or, “bad” cholesterol), high MPV, and high blood glucose levels. The researchers concluded that increased platelet activity can put diabetes suffers at a greater risk of cardiovascular disease.22

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It is very important to care for your health if you suffer from diabetes. There are many warning signs that you could be at risk of diabetes. If you have diabetes, your doctor will recommend the best course of treatment to keep your sugar levels under control. In some cases, diet can help control diabetes symptoms without the use of medication. However, you should always speak to your doctor about the best treatment in your circumstances.

Preeclampsia in pregnancy can elevate MPV levels

If you are pregnant, doctors will regularly monitor your blood work and also check your health and the health of your baby.

One of the conditions that doctors test for is the possibility of preeclampsia, which is a potentially dangerous pregnancy complication characterized by high blood pressure. The Journal of Obstetrics and Gynaecology Research reported that increased mean platelet volume in pregnancy can help predict if an expecting mother is at risk of preeclampsia.23

Smoking and high MPV levels

Smoking can increase MPV levels in your blood and put you at a greater risk of heart disease, cancer, respiratory diseases, and premature aging.

To help give up smoking, please read my article on 5 steps to kicking the smoking habit naturally. You will see why smoking is a habit to stop now if you want to be healthy.

What to Do If MPV Levels are Low or High

If the results of your blood test show low MPV or high MPV, then your doctor will discuss with you possible causes depending on other results from your blood work.

Of course, if high MPV levels are the result of a vitamin deficiency, then addressing that will help to normalize MPV to acceptable levels.

High MPV often means that a person is at greater risk of heart disease. Therefore, taking positive steps to improve your cardiovascular health will help to lower MPV levels.

Some foods that help maintain healthy heart and improve the health of your arteries are oily fish like salmon and tuna, berries, garlic, turmeric, olive oil, and green tea. These healthy foods will also boost your heart health and improve your blood circulation naturally.

Other Related Blood Tests

MCHC blood test

Another way to check the health of your red blood cells is using the MCHC blood test. MCHC stands for mean corpuscular hemoglobin concentration. In other words, it measures the concentration of hemoglobin in a given volume of red blood cells.

You can get more information about MCHC blood test in the article: MCHC Blood Test: What It Means and What It Tells About Your Health.

RDW blood test

Red cell distribution width (RDW for short) is a blood test used to measure the difference in size and volume of your red blood cells. The combination of MCV and RDW levels can tell a lot about your health – get more information in the article: RDW Blood Test: What It Means and What It Tells About Your Health.

MCV blood test

MCV blood test stands for mean corpuscular volume of your blood cells and helps doctors check the health of your blood. The MCV blood test shows the average size of your red blood cells, as red blood cells that are too large or too small can be an indicator of an underlying medical condition.

You can get more information about MCV blood test in the article: MCV Blood Test: What It Means and What It Tells About Your Health.

Read my other related articles:

Article Sources

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  10. Rheumatol Int.2010 Jun;30(8):1125-9.
  11. MayoClinic. Respiratory syncytial virus.
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