Does anyone here have this condition? How is it treated? What causes it? My doctor says I have too many red blood cells.
I do not have this condition but here is some insight from Mayo Clininc:
Polycythemia vera is a chronic condition that can't be cured. Treatment focuses on reducing your amount of blood cells. In many cases, treatment can reduce the risk of complications from polycythemia vera and ease signs and symptoms.
Treatment might include:
Taking blood out of your veins. Drawing some blood out of your veins in a procedure called phlebotomy is usually the first treatment option for people with polycythemia vera. This reduces the number of blood cells and decreases your blood volume, making it easier for your blood to function. How often you need phlebotomy depends on the severity of your condition.
Low-dose aspirin. Your doctor may recommend that you take a low dose of aspirin to reduce your risk of blood clots. Low-dose aspirin may also help reduce burning pain in your feet or hands.
Medication to decrease blood cells. For people with polycythemia vera who aren't helped by phlebotomy alone, medications, such as hydroxyurea (Droxia, Hydrea), to suppress your bone marrow's ability to produce blood cells might be used.
Interferon alpha may be used to stimulate your immune system to fight the overproduction of red blood cells. It might be used for people who don't respond well to hydroxyurea. It's being studied in clinical trials.
Medication to destroy cancer cells. Ruxolitinib (Jakafi) is approved by the Food and Drug Administration to treat people with polycythemia vera who don't respond to or can't take hydroxyurea. It helps your immune system destroy cancer cells, and can improve some polycythemia vera symptoms.
Therapy to reduce itching. If you have bothersome itching, your doctor may prescribe medication, such as antihistamines, or recommend ultraviolet light treatment to relieve your discomfort.
Medications that are normally used to treat depression, called selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs), helped relieve itching in clinical trials. Examples of SSRIs include paroxetine (Paxil) or fluoxetine (Prozac).
Drugs that inhibit the JAK2 gene and others are being studied.
More info: https://www.drugs.com/mcd/polycythemia-vera
Hello G Mc
Masso pretty much gave you all of the options available to treat Polycythemia.
As for the known cause researchers are not completely sure what causes polycythemia.
However, researches are faily certain that mixed messages from your bone marrow cause your body to make too many blood cells. This includes white blood cells (WBC), platelets and most importantly red blood cells (RBC). If your hematocrit level is 45% or higher for a long period of time than doctors can diagnose you with Polycythemia. Which is a rare, chronic form of blood cancer.
Finally, as a patient it's important to keep a diary of all your phlebotomy/lab slips. The most important lab number is your hematocrit level. By keeping a diary you will know what your blood levels are and how often they fluctuate. You'll also have an idea of what stage your polycythemia is at. Normal RBC range (Hematocrit) for women is 37 to 47%. For men the RBC range (Hematocrit) is 45 to 52%. Menstrual cycles make women's hematocrit levels slightly lower than that of men.
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