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Primary polycythemia: causes, symptoms and treatment

by Alivia Nyhan
Published: Last Updated on

Blood, the main vital fluid within the body and the organs that produce it, can develop anomalies, diseases or syndromes of greater or lesser severity that put every end of the body where it reaches at risk. The bone marrow, the main producer of blood cells, can present the so-called myeloproliferative syndromes such as primary polycythemia, which results in the alteration of the production levels of red blood cells or other blood cells, keeping their blood concentrations above than normal levels.

Follow us in the following article in FastlyHealto know precise information about primary polycythemia: causes, symptoms and treatment .

Causes of primary polycythemia

Primary polycythemia, also known as erythremia, polycythemia vera or Vazquez-Osler disease, is a chronic myeloproliferative-type syndrome, characterized by an increase in the concentration of blood cells, especially red blood cells (also called red blood cells or erythrocytes).

This imbalance is born in the bone marrow which, due to alterations in the genes that command erythrogenesis, and causes these cells to be produced at a rate and quantity much greater than what the body can use to function properly. This allows the blood to thicken . Thus, a careless priamria polycythemia can cause difficulty in the ability of the blood to circulate. Polycythemia is found in much less frequent cases, also altering the production of leukocytes (white blood cells) and / or platelets.

This syndrome is extremely rare to find in people under 45 years of age. If it becomes more common in individuals aged 60 or over and in women, with an incidence of less than 8 cases per million inhabitants in Spain.

Primary polycythemia: symptoms and complications

The main signs and symptoms of this syndrome are derived from the hyperviscosity that the blood develops in this condition, producing in most cases:

  • Redness of the skin and face. Sometimes it can also be bluish.
  • Sacred within the skin
  • Recurrent itching and itching all over the body .
  • Conjunctivitis and visual disturbances.
  • Formation of blood clots
  • Dyspnea and dizziness
  • Failures in proprioception (balance and spatial location).
  • Headache.
  • Tingling
  • Increased body heat and internal thermal sensation, being able to feel strong burning, mainly in the hands and feet.
  • Feeling of swelling and pain under the ribs and on the left side of the abdomen, due to the inflammation of the spleen.

The wide variety of symptoms mentioned are due to how thick the blood becomes and makes it difficult for it to pass normally throughout the body. In some of the most unfavorable outcomes of primary polycythemia, we can find the following:

  • Thrombosis
  • Serious internal bleeding, especially in the digestive system.
  • Cerebrovascular accidents.

Diagnosis of primary polycythemia

Most of the primary polycythemias that are diagnosed before reaching an advanced aggravation are accidentally (without imagining that it existed) in a routine blood test , when finding the imbalance in the amount of the different types of blood cells and platelets.

High concentrations of erythrocytes, leukocytes and / or platelet cells can activate the alarms of this syndrome. Then you can proceed to one or more of the following tests to proceed to the confirmation of the syndrome:

  • Bone marrow biopsy.
  • Abdominal radiographs to rule out the possibility of secondary polycythemias.
  • Molecular study to confirm the alteration at the genetic level.

These additional studies are pertinent to apply to evaluate other alterations of potential risk both at the molecular and medullary levels that indicate that polycythemia is being a preamble to other blood diseases such as leukemia.

Treatment of primary polycythemia

This syndrome is chronic and until now, irreversible , being only possible to contain the condition so that it does not lead to greater evils, this is by controlling the levels of red blood cells and constantly monitoring the general health of the patient in order to reduce, for example, the possibilities thrombosis and coagulations. The most frequent interventions are:

  • Periodic bleeding or drawing of blood to reduce red blood cell levels.
  • Administration of acetylsalicylic acid (aspirin).
  • Intravenous administration of hydroxyurea: for patients at risk of thrombotic accidents, to whom blood transfusions would be a greater risk.

All these treatments, including the administration of the case of aspirin, its administration and dosage must be supervised by a trained doctor who will continue to monitor the case and follow the indications of frequency of attendance at consultation.

This article is merely informative, at FastlyHeal .com we do not have the power to prescribe medical treatments or make any type of diagnosis. We invite you to see a doctor in the case of presenting any type of condition or discomfort.

If you want to read more articles similar to Primary polycythemia: causes, symptoms and treatment , we recommend that you enter our category of Blood, heart and circulation .

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