Your body is composed of many parts, and these many parts are composed of cells. The cells in your body have numerous types including the red blood cells, the white blood cells, and the platelets. Each of them has different ways of examination to check if you do not have any existing health problem.
Included in these tests is the complete blood count (CBC) where a doctor or a nurse extracted your blood and place it on a tube for examination.
Another type of cell examination, which you may be or may be not familiar with, is the MPV. In this article, we will tackle what is it and to what is it used for, as well as what its results indicate.
What is MPV?
MPV stands for mean platelet volume. It is included in the series of complete blood count (CBC) test – a common test conducted to check the cells for any health-related issues. MPV has a close relation to a platelet count test. In this test, the number of blood platelets is what measure. Meanwhile, in MPV, what the doctors examine are the average size of your platelets.
Your body is composed of different types of cells. There are white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. Your platelets are the one active and responsible for blood clotting. For example, having a cut in your finger will make the blood run out of it, however, the platelets work out to stop the bleeding.
If you have been detected to have platelet abnormalities, it may indicate either a bleeding disorder or a health issue.
The process of MPV Blood Test
Most companies conducted annual physical check-up. Thus, you might be very familiar with the process of MPV. Or perhaps you are not aware that it was it. As mentioned earlier, MPV is included in CBC testing, so, a phlebotomist (a specialist in drawing blood), a nurse, or a doctor will engorge your vein by wrapping a tourniquet around your arm. Then a thin needle will be inserted in your vein to draw blood. The blood will be placed on a test tube. Typically, you will feel a minimal pain in the injected area, rest assured it will not cause a serious bruising in your arm. However, a slight bruising and tenderness may occur in a few days.
The blood sample extracted from you will be brought in a laboratory and examined by a doctor, or other experts, under a microscope. Then the result will be released.
MPV Blood Test Results and Meaning
Platelets are created from the bone marrow, then it will be released into the bloodstream. Platelets can be larger or smaller. The larger ones are considered the younger or newly created platelets, while the smaller is it’s opposite. Moreover, the larger platelets are newly released from the bone marrow.
After the process of MPV test, the results will come out. It has two kinds of results: a low or high MPV. What each of the results means?
- High MPV Results – If the result of your MPV test is high, it may indicate that your platelets are larger than normal. Sometimes, it indicates that your bone marrow is producing more platelets.
- Low MPV Results – The low MPV results specifies that you have smaller platelets than average. This also signifies that your bone marrow is not creating enough platelet.
There are cases where a patient has a low count of platelet but a high MPV result. It can be interpreted that the patient’s older platelets have been destroyed and the bone marrow is compensating by rapidly producing new platelets.
In another instance, an increase in MPV is linked with the activation of your platelets, which normally happens when they run into a tumor byproduct. Nevertheless, it cannot be interpreted that you have existing cancer in your body. But if your doctor learns that cancer runs in your family history, he may suggest conducting additional examination just to make sure there is no sign of cancer.
Platelets and MPV, How is it Related to Cancer?
You may consider MPV a warning sign for cancer, but still, it will depend on the result of your other tests.
A high MPV indicates that you have a rapid production of platelets, which kill the survival rates of some cancer patients. Platelets have the ability to spread cancer in the other parts of your body. Moreover, it can enhance tumor growth. Some kind of cancer that lessen the patient’s chance of survival when platelets production arises are:
- Breast cancer
- Colon cancer
- Ovarian cancer
- Pancreatic cancer
- Lung cancer
- Endometrial cancer
- Stomach cancer
- Kidney cancer
However, relying on the MPV alone to check for any sign of cancer is futile. Remember that it refers to the size of platelets and not the number of it.
The National Cancer Institute produce a copy of some signs and symptoms that may indicate you have cancer. Watch out for the warning signs such as:
- Feeling extremely weak and tired
- Uncommon discharge or bleeding both in stool and urine
- Unexplainable sweat during night time
- Abdominal pain
- Change of weight (either gaining or losing) without explainable reason
- Difficulty swallowing
- Changes in your appetite
- Trouble urinating
- Bowel habit alteration
- A persistent cough or hoarseness
- Lump or thickening skin
- Changes in breast
- Changes in skin
Other Causes of High MPV Level
It is not just cancer to point out when your MPV level increases. These result may point to several other reasons or conditions including:
- Atrial fibrillation
- High blood pressure
- Vitamin D deficiency
- Heart disease
If a high level of MPV points to a lot of health condition, including cancer, how about a low level of MPV?
As a high MPV by its own does not mean anything, so is low MPV. But depending on the result of your CBC, a low MPV may be a signpost for:
- Aplastic anemia
- Inflammatory bowel diseases such as ulcerative colitis or Crohn’s disease
- Cytotoxic medications—usually used in chemotherapy