Among all the laboratory exams you have encountered, which among them do you truly understand? Do you know what they are for, or do you leave everything to the doctor and pray that nothing is wrong with your body? This attitude is normal for patients ridden with fear. However, it is also important for us to have an understanding, even if shallow, of what these tests are all about. In this article, we shall discuss one of the most common blood exams conducted, the MPV blood test.
Otherwise known as the Mean Platelet Volume, the MPV test is conducted to measure the average size of platelets in our blood. This test is typically included in CBC tests. The MPV test is important when determining the bone marrow’s platelet production or destruction. But what are platelets, and how does a change in their size affect our well-being?
Platelets and MPV
Platelets undeniably are an important part of a body’s defense system. Together with red and white blood cells, platelets circle around the blood stream. When a problem arises in our epithelial tissue – which acts as the protective interface of our skin as well our major organs – our platelets clump together. Simply put, platelets form into blood clots to prevent blood loss when internal organs or the skin has been ruptured.
That is why routine blood exams always include a platelet count, which can determine if a person has a health issue. It is common knowledge that patients with leukemia have extreme low platelet counts. Meanwhile, high platelet counts can be associated with increased chances of having stroke. However, the mean plate volume serves another purpose.
Interpreting an MPV Blood Test Result
This type of test determines the size of your platelets, whose real purpose is to find out whether or not there is serious issue with your bone marrow’s platelet production. This test is accurate, but only indicative. Doctor’s can only use it to prove that there is an irregularity with your platelets, but as to its cause, they will have to conduct several other tests to find out. As aforementioned, an extremely low MPV would put leukemia in the list of possible causes. However, jumping to conclusions has never done anything for a patient. Consult with one or two doctors before taking the next step. However, if you do have a low MPV, certain precautions are in order. Patients with low platelet count (also known as thrombocytopenia) can suffer from severe bleeding from a simple cut. Preventive measures against cutting or injury of any kind must be acted upon.
On the other hand, extremely high MPV levels (thrombocytosis) can indicate high rate of platelet production. Conditions associated with this are cardiovascular disease and all forms of diabetes. As opposed to low MPV, high MPV can cause individual cells to clot more than necessary.
Patients who have obtained the results of their MPV test can also identify whether their levels are alarming or not. A normal MPV is in the 7.5 to 11.5 range, so anything below or beyond that range should mean an irregularity in their platelets. They should immediately seek the assistance of a doctor in this situation.
A basic understanding of the results will help you grasp the explanations by your physician. However, it is important to take note that an MPV test is not diagnostic of anything alone. It is only an initial test which would indicate if a patient needs further tests to determine his or her condition. An abnormal MPV level could, in the rarest of cases, be normal for one’s body. For sure, there are a lot of factors to be considered before a doctor can arrive at a conclusive diagnosis.