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Polycythemia Vera

What is Polycythemia Vera?

Polycythemia Vera is a condition that occurs when the bone marrow produces too many blood cells. In polycythemia vera, there is a high concentration of red blood cells, granulocytes, and platelets. Polycythemia vera usually appears in late middle age. It is extremely rare in children.

Polycythemia vera is a serious condition. If not treated, risk of having a heart attack or stroke increases. With proper treatment, risk of stroke or heart disease decreases. A small percentage of people with polycythemia vera develop acute leukemia.

Symptoms of Polycythemia Vera

The symptoms of polycythemia vera appear gradually. When they do appear, the most common symptoms are: weakness, intense itching, and dizziness.

Emergency Symptoms

If you have any of the symptoms listed below, you should seek medical help immediately.

  • Blood in vomit or stool
  • A stroke
  • A blood clot in the legs

What causes Polycythemia Vera?

The exact cause of polycythemia vera is unknown.

How is Polycythemia Vera diagnosed?

Your doctor will conduct blood tests to see if you have polycythemia vera.

Treatment Options for Polycythemia Vera

Polycythemia vera can be treated but not cured. The treatments are aimed at reducing the number of red blood cells, lower the thickness of blood, and minimize the risk of blood clots and stroke.

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