Polycythemia is a rare bone marrow disorder, which causes the increase in the production of cells in the blood, mainly red blood cells. The primary function of the red blood cells is to carry oxygen to the different parts of the body. This blood disorder affects more men than women. The excess production of red blood cells makes your blood too thick, which affects the normal flow of blood in the body and may even lead to a stroke or a heart attack. This disease develops gradually over a time. With the increase in red blood cells, there may also be an increase in the production of white red blood cells and platelet count.
Causes of Polycythemia
The most common cause of Polycythemia is genetic. The patient of Polycythemia may have inherited a gene called, JAK2, the function of this gene is to keep the production of red blood cells and other blood cells under control.  However, the exact cause of Polycythemia is not known. Here are some of the common conditions that may increase the chance of Polycythemia:
The symptoms of Polycythemia can be easily treated if, detected early. No proper treatment of Polycythemia in it early stage can lead to fatal complications in future.
Symptoms of Polycythemia if left untreated in early stage
Symptoms of early Polycythemia
Diagnosis of Polycythemia
- Heart attack
- Deep vein thrombosis
- Loss of blood supply to brain
- Internal bleeding
- The most common method of diagnosing Polycythemia is a blood test. A doctor may refer a blood test known as CBC (Complete Blood Count).
- A complete blood test is performed by taking blood samples from the patient’s vein. The complete blood test (CBC) evaluates the amount of red blood cells, white blood cells and blood platelets.
- Bone marrow biopsy is a procedure in which a sample of bone marrow generally taken from the back of your hipbone is observed under medical supervision.
The treatment of Polycythemia varies from patient to patient. The aim of the treatment is to lower the production of red blood cells in your bone marrow. The treatment of Polycythemia include:
- Phlebotomy- In this procedure the excess blood in the patients’ body is removed from their vein, to make present blood less thick so it can flow better.
- The specialised treatment of Polycythemia involves using, Hydroxyurea and interferon alpha. These medicines, suppresses the risk of blood clots by reducing the excessive production of red blood cells. However, the patient’s of thyroid and mental disorders are, advised not to take interferon alpha.