What Conditions Can Result In Polycythemia?

Causes of secondary polycythemia include:

  • being at a very high altitude.
  • obstructive sleep apnea.
  • certain types of tumor.
  • heart or lung disease that causes a low oxygen level in the body.

What are two conditions that cause polycythemia?

What are the risk factors for polycythemia?

  • Hypoxia from long standing (chronic) lung disease and smoking are common causes of polycythemia.
  • Chronic carbon monoxide (CO) exposure can also be a risk factor for polycythemia.

What could indicate polycythemia?

If you have polycythemia vera, blood tests might reveal: More red blood cells than normal and, sometimes, an increase in platelets or white blood cells. A greater percentage of red blood cells that make up total blood volume (hematocrit measurement)

What can cause relative polycythemia?

Relative polycythemia is an apparent rise of the erythrocyte level in the blood; however, the underlying cause is reduced blood plasma (hypovolemia, cf. dehydration). Relative polycythemia is often caused by loss of body fluids, such as through burns, dehydration, and stress.

What causes absolute polycythemia?

Absolute polycythemia occurs when more RBCs are produced than normal and their count is truly elevated. Dehydration is a common cause of relative polycythemia. Absolute polycythemia may be primary or secondary. Primary polycythemia (polycythemia vera) is a spontaneous proliferation of RBCs in the bone marrow.

What is the most common cause of polycythemia?

Primary polycythemia is genetic. It’s most commonly caused by a mutation in the bone marrow cells, which produce your red blood cells. Secondary polycythemia can also have a genetic cause. But it’s not from a mutation in your bone marrow cells.

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What diseases cause large red blood cells?


  • Vitamin B-12 deficiency.
  • Folate deficiency.
  • Liver disease.
  • Alcoholism.
  • Hypothyroidism.
  • A side effect of certain medications, such as those used to treat cancer, seizures and autoimmune disorders.
  • Increased red blood cell production by the bone marrow to correct anemia, for example, after blood loss.

What happens if RBC and WBC are high?

White blood cell count. If your white blood cell count is higher than normal, you may have an infection or inflammation. Or, it could indicate that you have an immune system disorder or a bone marrow disease. A high white blood cell count can also be a reaction to medication.

Which is a late symptom of polycythemia vera?

Numbness, tingling, burning, or weakness in your hands, feet, arms or legs. A feeling of fullness soon after eating and bloating or pain in your left upper abdomen due to an enlarged spleen. Unusual bleeding, such as a nosebleed or bleeding gums.

What is the difference between polycythemia vera and polycythemia?

Secondary polycythemia is defined as an absolute increase in red blood cell mass that is caused by enhanced stimulation of red blood cell production. In contrast, polycythemia vera is characterized by bone marrow with an inherent increased proliferative activity.

What is physiological polycythemia?

Introduction. Polycythemia, or erythrocytosis, refers to an increase in the absolute red blood cell (RBC) mass in the body. In practice, this is reflected by an increase in hemoglobin levels, or hematocrit, over what is considered physiologic for that age and gender.

What is the most common cause of secondary polycythemia?

Secondary polycythemia most often develops as a response to chronic hypoxemia, which triggers increased production of erythropoietin by the kidneys. The most common causes of secondary polycythemia include obstructive sleep apnea, obesity hypoventilation syndrome, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

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What are the symptoms of secondary polycythemia?

Patients with secondary polycythemia may have symptoms including:

  • Fatigue.
  • Headache.
  • Dizziness.
  • Blurred vision.
  • Anorexia.
  • Weakness.
  • Reduced mental acuity‌‌

Is high hematocrit always indicative of polycythemia?

Hemoglobin levels greater than 16.5 g/dL (grams per deciliter) in women and greater than 18.5 g/dL in men suggest polycythemia. In terms of hematocrit, a value greater than 48 in women and 52 in men is indicative of polycythemia.

Why cyanosis occurs in polycythemia?

However, if the polycythemia is secondary to hypoxia, as in venous-to-arterial shunts or compromised lung and oxygenation, patients can also appear cyanotic. Increased red blood cell mass increases blood viscosity and decreases tissue perfusion.

What is primary and secondary polycythemia?

Primary polycythemia is caused by an abnormality of the cells in the bone marrow that form red blood cells. Secondary polycythemia is caused by a disorder originating outside of the bone marrow that causes overstimulation of the normal bone marrow, leading to an overproduction of red blood cells.