A series of blood tests called a CBC, or a complete blood count is used to diagnose certain blood disorders and diseases in the body. The mean corpuscular volume, or MCV, is a measurement of the individual red blood cells and is obtained by dividing the volume of red blood cells, or hematocrit, by the red blood cell count, or the RBC. The mean corpuscular volume, also known as the mean cell volume, is the value used to determine the cause of different types of anemia.
A normal mean corpuscular volume level for both men and women is between 80 and 100 femtolitres. An MCV level that is higher than 100 femtolitres indicates the red blood cells, or erythrocytes, are abnormally large, and this condition is called macrocytosis or macrocythemia. Abnormally large red blood cells combined with an insufficient amount of red blood cells in the blood is known as macrocytic anemia. When the mean corpuscular volume level is between 100 and 150 femtolitres, this condition is called pernicious anemia.
A mean corpuscular volume level that is lower than 80 femtolitres indicates the red blood cells are abnormally small, and this condition is called microcytosis or microcythemia. Abnormally small red blood cells paired with an insufficient amount of red blood cells in the blood is known as microcytic anemia.
Factors that can elevate the MCV levels in the blood include alcoholism, a vitamin B12 deficiency, and a folic acid deficiency. An iron deficiency is known to be a contributing factor to low MCV levels.