Polycythemia is the increase of the red blood cell count, hemoglobin, and total red blood cell volume, accompanied by an increase in total blood volume. PV is a disorder of unknown etiology involving a multipotent hematopoietic progenitor cell that is characterized by the accumulation of phenotypically normal red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets in the absence of a definable cause; extramedullary hematopoiesis, marrow fibrosis, and, in a few patients, transformation to acute leukemia can also occur. First described in 1892, the cause of the disease remains unknown and no potentially curative therapy other than bone marrow transplantation is currently available. This acquired disorder is often associated with thrombocytosis, leukocytosis and splenomegaly.
Polycythemia vera Diagnosis
Diagnosis is based on basic clinical and biological abnormalities. Sometimes, positive diagnosis required more sophisticated tests as assay of endogenous erythroid colony, erythropoietin blood level and bone marrow biopsy. Usually the natural history of disease remains long with a good quality of life. In some cases complications occur: mainly thrombosis and late myeloid metaplasia with myelofibrosis and acute leukemia.
Polycythemia vera treatment
The aim is to reduce hyper viscosity complications and to avoid therapeutic induced leukemia. Therapeutic approaches remain complex and difficult to optimize based up on age and disease severity.
If untreated, this blood cell disease leads to thrombohemorrhagic complications and eventually to progressive myelofibrosis of the marrow, anemia, and splenomegaly. Two drugs, interferon and imatinib mesylate, may alter the course of this disease. Used as single agents, each produces lasting remissions in about 75% of the cases.
Cochrane Database Syst Rev. 2013. Antiplatelet drugs for polycythaemia vera and essential thrombocythaemia. Polycythaemia vera and essential thrombocythaemia are chronic Philadelphia-negative myeloproliferative neoplasms that increase the risk of arterial and venous thrombosis, as well as bleeding. In addition to the different therapeutic strategies available, an antiplatelet drug is often used to reduce thrombotic risk. For patients with polycythaemia vera who have no clear indication or contraindication to aspirin therapy, available evidence suggests that the use of low-dose aspirin, when compared with no treatment, is associated with a statistically non-significant reduction in the risk of fatal thrombotic events and all-cause mortality, without an increased risk of major bleeding.
Symptom of polycythemia
People with this condition sometimes have no symptoms for years. The earliest polycythemia vera symptoms usually are weakness, fatigue, headache, light-headedness, shortness of breath, and night sweats. Vision may be distorted, and a person may have blind spots or may see flashes of light. Bleeding from the gums and more bleeding than would be expected from small cuts are common. The skin, especially the face, may look red. A person may itch all over, particularly after bathing or showering. Burning sensations in the hands and feet or, more rarely, bone pain may be felt.
Musher had Polycythemia Vera
Four-time Iditarod champion Susan Butcher died in August, 2006 in a Seattle hospital of complications from a bone marrow transplant. She was 51. Three years ago, when Susan Butcher was considering a comeback, doctors found she had the condition. Butcher planned to compete in a 300-mile race in winter 2006, but was unable to compete after she was diagnosed with leukemia.
Q. Is there a cure for polycythemia vera?
A. I am not aware of a polycthemia vera cure at this time.
Q. Is green tea and
green tea supplements
safe for patients with polycythemia vera?
A. We have not come across such research regarding the use of green tea, so we don't know.
On of the less than perfect days of my life happened
a little over 20 months ago when diagnosed with bilateral renal cell carcinoma
with mets to lymph and liver and in reality given only about 4 to 6 months to
live. I was successful in stopping the cancer within 5 months using only
supplements and diet, BUT seemed to have stumbled across something else to keep
me amused. Polycythemia vera
appears to have become part of my life.
I have not studied this blood condition in much detail and do not have personal experience with herbs for this condition. However, you could take a look at the cancer page for more info. We wish you the best healing possible.
lipoic acid be helpful?
I don't know.
My 75 year old Mother has polycythemia vera. She is
under doctors supervision, takes hydroxy urea and blood pressure meds, and gets
regular phlebotomies. She asked me to order a homeopathic remedy / product
specific to polycythemia vera called Veritin.
I have tried, without results, to find out if this is a legitimate site and
product. While I firmly believe in alternative medicine, I am also aware that
scams abound and require caution. I have followed your health columns through
other sites and appreciate your integrity. Can you advise?
As of 2010, I could not find any published studies in the medical literature regarding the treatment of polycythemia vera with Veritin. I am not a big believer in homeopathic remedies.