How to Treat Polycythaemia?

  • November 07, 2023
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How to Treat Polycythaemia?

What is Polycythemia?

Polycythemia, a medical condition marked by an abnormal surge in red blood cell numbers, alters blood composition, increasing thickness and susceptibility to clotting. There are two primary types: primary polycythemia vera, a rare genetic disorder causing excessive red blood cell production, and secondary polycythemia, often a response to conditions like chronic hypoxia, kidney disease, or certain tumors. Also termed erythrocytosis, polycythemia heightens the overall red blood cell mass, leading to increased blood viscosity and a heightened risk of health complications, notably blood clots.

Why Does Polycythemia Occur?

In primary polycythemia vera, a mutation in the JAK2 gene prompts the bone marrow to produce an excessive number of red blood cells. This genetic anomaly is not inherited but occurs spontaneously. Secondary polycythemia, on the other hand, is a reactive response to various factors. Chronic hypoxia, a condition characterized by low oxygen levels, can stimulate the production of red blood cells as the body attempts to compensate for the reduced oxygen availability. Kidney disease and certain tumors can also trigger secondary polycythemia.