What is Polycythemia Vera?
Definition Polycythemia vera (PV) is a chronic blood disorder marked by an abnormal increase in three types of blood cells produced by bone marrow: red blood cells (RBCs), white blood cells (WBCs), and platelets. PV is called a myeloproliferative disorder, which means that the bone marrow is producing too many cells too quickly. Most of the symptoms of PV are related to the increased volume of the patient’s blood and its greater thickness (high viscosity). PV sometimes evolves into a different myeloproliferative disorder or into acute leukemia. Description Polycythemia vera is a relatively common progressive disorder that develops over a course of 10–20 years. In the United States, PV affects about one person in every 200,000. PV has several other names, including splenomegalic polycythemia, Vaquez-Osler syndrome, erythremia, and primary polycythemia. Primary polycythemia means that the disorder is not caused or triggered by other illnesses. PV most commonly affects middle-aged adults.
Polycythemia (say: polly-sigh-thee-me-ah) vera (PV) is a disease in which your body makes too many red blood cells. Your blood may become too thick, causing serious health problems. PV may cause shortness of breath, dizziness, itchy or flushed skin, fatigue, and headaches. Also, your hands and feet may become blue and tender. Sometimes a person with PV vera may have abnormal blood clots, which may lead to a stroke. This disease rarely occurs early in life. Most cases occur in people around 60 years of age. What causes PV? PV may begin with a bone marrow problem. Bone marrow is the soft tissue inside bones that makes blood cells. When bone marrow makes too many red blood cells, the result is PV. How will my doctor know that I have PV? If you have symptoms of PV, your doctor may order blood tests and examine you. Sometimes the disease may be found by accident when you have blood work done for other reasons.
When the bone marrow produces too much blood cell, the result is Polycythemia Vera; this is however a condition that is not common. Polycythemia Vera is a result of a high concentration of red blood cells only, though additional white blood cells and blood platelets are also being produced. It is a rare condition and is more often than not found in males than in females. There is no definite condition as to what causes this problem. No studies have been able to pinpoint on the subject matter as to what causes Polycythemia Vera. Statistics have also shown that this condition is more prevalent in people above the age of forty. So with this result inferences can be drawn that this condition is because of life styles or exposure to certain environmental conditions. But the idea of this condition being dormant since childhood and surfacing after the early forties cannot also be thrown to the wind.
Polycythemia (POL-e-si-THE-me-ah) vera (VAY-rah or VE-rah), or PV, is a rare blood disease in which your body makes too many red blood cells. The extra red blood cells make your blood thicker than normal. As a result, blood clots can form more easily and block blood flow through your arteries and veins. This can lead to heart attack and stroke. Thicker blood also flows more slowly to all parts of your body, preventing your organs from getting enough oxygen. This can cause other serious complications, such as angina (an-JI-nuh or AN-juh-nuh) and heart failure.