FAQ - polycythemia vera
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Polycythemia vera?

One of my very close friend have the problem of "Polycythemia vera" . any one there to suggest any medicine of any way to solve this?

Polycythemia vera :
Alternative names
Primary polycythemia; Polycythemia rubra vera; Myeloproliferative disorder; Erythremia; Splenomegalic polycythemia; Vaquez's disease; Osler's disease; Polycythemia with chronic cyanosis - Myelopathic polycythemia; Erythrocytosis megalosplenica; Cryptogenic polycythemia
Definition :

Polycythemia vera is an abnormal increase in blood cells (primarily red blood cells) resulting from excess production by the bone marrow.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors :

Polycythemia vera is an acquired disorder of the bone marrow that causes the overproduction of all three blood cell lines: white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets.

It is a rare disease that occurs more frequently in men than women, and rarely in patients under 40 years old. It is not known what causes polycythemia vera.

The disease usually develops slowly, and most patients do not experience any problems related to the disease after being diagnosed. However, the abnormal bone marrow cells may begin to grow uncontrollably in some patients leading to acute myelogenous leukemia.

Patients with polycythemia vera also have an increased tendency to form blood clots that can result in strokes or heart attacks. Some patients may experience abnormal bleeding because their platelets are abnormal.

Symptoms :

Itchiness, especially following a warm bath
Fullness in the left upper abdomen
Red coloration, especially of the face
Shortness of breath
Breathing difficulty when lying down
Symptoms of phlebitis
Note: Symptoms are due to increased blood viscosity (thickness) and clotting.

Additional symptoms that may be associated with this disease:

Vision abnormalities
Skin spots, red
Bluish skin discoloration
Signs and tests Return to top

A CBC with differential
Hematocrit, elevated
White blood count, elevated
Platelet count, elevated
Bone marrow biopsy
Vitamin B-12 level
Chemistry panel
Blood volume, increased
This disease may also alter the results of the following tests:

Lactate dehydrogenase
Serum uric acid
RBC count
Platelet aggregation test
Leukocyte alkaline phosphatase
Treatment :
-The objective of treatment is to reduce the high blood viscosity (thickness of the blood) due to the increased red blood cell mass and to prevent hemorrhage and thrombosis.

-Phlebotomy is one method used to reduce the high blood viscosity. In phlebotomy, 1 unit (pint) of blood is removed weekly until the hematocrit is less than 45, then phlebotomy is continued as necessary.

-Occasionally, chemotherapy may be given to suppress the bone marrow. Other agents such as interferon may be given to lower blood counts. Anegrelide may be given to lower platelet counts.

-The use of anti-platelet therapy (such as aspirin) is controversial because it may cause stomach bleeding.

-Allopurinol is given for hyperuricemia (gout).

Expectations (prognosis) :

Polycythemia vera usually develops slowly, and most patients treated appropriately do not experience any problems related to the disease. However, the abnormal bone marrow cells may begin to grow uncontrollably leading to acute myelogenous leukemia. This occurs in a minority of cases.

Patients with polycythemia vera also have an increased tendency to form blood clots that can result in strokes or heart attacks. Some patients may experience abnormal bleeding because their platelets are abnormal.


Thrombosis (a cause of stroke or heart attack)
Peptic ulcer disease
Gastric bleeding
Heart failure
Myelofibrosis  (+ info)

Polycythemia Vera?

Does anyone know of the future of a person Diognosed with Polycythemia Vera? caused by smoking.....treatment & life expectency???? Thanks for your help in this answer.
Thank You...My Husband was Just diagnosed with this, you have helped with this info VERY MUCH! I checked it it. Appreciate it.

Polycythemia vera is an acquired condition caused by a mutation in a bone marrow cell. It has not been proven that smoking causes this mutation.

The Mayo Clinic has the best information in the Internet for most healthcare questions. Read about polycythemia vera at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/polycythemia-vera/DS00919.

Medline Plus is also an excellent source. Try http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/000589.htm.  (+ info)

What is the life expectancy of a 21 year old diagnosed with polycythemia vera?

My brother is 21 and due to a blood test where his hemoglobin, calcium, and red blood count was high he went to see a hemotologist and was diagnosed with polycythemia vera. This is a very rare blood condition and usually only effects men aged 50 and older. I know that with proper treatment a survival rate of 10-15 years is expected but that is based on the median age of 60, what would my brothers be since he is so young?

Don't linger too much on "survival rate" quotes. Some people see these automatically as a no hope situation. With the newer treatments people are living longer with PV. The treatment is not the same from patient to patient and is adjusted depending on how well the patient is responding. The goal is to improve quality of life and this leads to a longer life.  (+ info)

What can you tell me about Polycythemia vera?

I know it's a from of blood cancer. What is the mortality rate?I've googled it and know a lot from a medical stand point. I'm basically looking for some one who has it and can tell me what they know from personal experience

its also called primary Polycythemia and occurs mostly in older adults and develops very slowly.. they can have it for years before knowing.. symptoms, headaches, dizzyness, itchey ness especially after a warm bath shower, redness of your skin. shortness of your breath. reading diffaculty while laying down. numbness, tingiling, burning or weekeness in hands feet, legs, a feeling of fullness or bloating in your left upper abdomen, do to an enlarged spleen it in in curable... Ms Evil that is what they thought i had but it turned out to be lymphomascytic Lymphoma and Amyloidosis both at the same time... I had most of the symptoms... this occurs mostly in men... did that help you? ((((((((((((((((((((hug))))))))))))))))) Grant  (+ info)

If polycythemia vera is diagnosed late, does that increase the chances of getting acute leukemia?

My dad's hemoglobin levels are critically high, and he is in severe pain...

No it does not increase the risk of acute leukemia, but leukemia is certainly a risk in PCV patients. I'm sorry to hear that he is in pain, but the treatment is fairly simple, phlebotomy (bloodletting) coupled with aspirin to prevent clotting. There is also a new treatment available in late-stage clinical trials called a Jak2 inhibitor. About 95% of PCV patients have a specific mutation in the Jak2 gene that causes the Jak2 protein to stay on continuously, sending the signal to make more and more red blood cells. The Jak2 inhibitor will effectively shut off that signal and allow the PCV patients to return to normal hemoglobin/hematocrit levels. So ask your hematologist about that.  (+ info)

What is the life expectancy of people with polycythemia vera?

I believe it's...
around 15 years after the accelerated phase sets in, however, a patient who is caught early and appropriately treated should live a normal life span.
Make sure, but I think that's right.  (+ info)

POLYCYTHEMIA VERA My friend was recently rushed into hospital with a ruptured spleen he was diagnosed with PV?

A month later he is now dead. he never left hospital.With what i have read on the internet this is not such a drastic disease so as to kill him so quickly (he was aged 42) otherwise healthy.
Is this usual with this condition?
he was close to death after his spleen ruptured,but seemed to be recovering.
He then went on plasma exchange and seemed to deteriorate.

  (+ info)

Is polycythemia vera or essential thrombocythemia a form of cancer?

PV is a neoplastic (cancer) disease. ET can be, but not all cases demonstrate monoclonality of cells, suggesting we have a lot to learn. Primarily they are characterized by stem cell changes which result in unregulated growth in all cell lines in PV and mostly platelets in ET. They are associated with long life usually, but can cause many life-threatening complications. They can degenerate however into true malignancies/cancers, such as acute leukemia.  (+ info)

Can anyone talk to me about Polycythemia vera?

I have been having symptoms like: shortness of breath, headaches, heaviness in the body, and fatigue. I have been recently told by the family docter that my red cell count was abnormally high.

Polycythemia vera is a rare, chronic disorder where the bone marrow overproduces blood cells. It increases all blood cells: red, white and platelets. The cause is unknown.

Symptoms include headaches, weakness, dizziness, and/or a ringing in the ears. Some people also have itching. The spleen and liver can be enlarged. People can also have high blood pressure and develop blood clots.  (+ info)

is polycythemia vera found in a blood test to check for anemia?

polycythemia is the exact opposite of anemia
polycythemia means blood count in excess of expect normal range
and anemia is reduced blood count
and ya..itz but obvious that this will be found out on a blood test ;)  (+ info)

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