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After few months of headaches, dizziness and breathing difficulty, I decided to visit the doctor. There I found out I have Polycytemia. As he explained to me that is an abnormal increase in blood cells, especially red blood cells. He tried to explain me all about it, but it wasn’t enough to me. I want to know what kind of treatment I need and something about expectations I should have.

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Polycytemia vera is acquired disorder of the bone marrow. It causes overproduction of all three blood cells lines: white blood cells, red ones and platelets. This is rare disease that occurs more in men then in women, and rarely in patients under 40 years old. We still don’t know the reason for Polycytemia. Usually this disease develops slowly and most of the patients do not experience symptoms. The abnormal bone marrow cells may begin to grow uncontrollably in some patients leading to acute myelongenous leukemia. Patients with Polycytemia also have increased tendency to form blood clots that can result strokes or heart attacks. Also abnormal bleeding is possible because of abnormal platelets. Treatment is to reduce the high blood viscosity. Phlebotomy is removing 1 unit of blood weekly until the hematocrit is less then 45. Hematocrit is relation between total blood volume and blood cells. Sometimes chemotherapy may be given to suppress the bone marrow.
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