Primary Polycythemia

Below you will find more information about Primary Polycythemia from Medigest. If you believe that you are suffering from any of the symptoms of Primary Polycythemia it is important that you obtain an accurate diagnosis from a medical professional to ensure that you obtain the correct medication or treatment for your condition. There are medical conditions that carry similar symptoms associated with Primary Polycythemia and therefore the information provided by Medigest is offered as a guideline only and should never be used in preference to seeking professional medical advice. The information relating to Primary Polycythemia comes from a third party source and Medigest will not be held liable for any inaccuracies relating to the information shown.


Primary polycythemia, also called polycythemia vera, is a blood disorder due to the excess of red blood cells or over production of white blood cells and platelets. The excess red blood cells cause the thickening of blood.


Doctors usually use blood tests in diagnosing primary polycythemia to check for an increase of red blood cells, or in other cases, an increase in platelets or white blood cells. Doctors may also recommend bone marrow aspiration to examine whether there is an overproduction of blood cells, which may also reveal the DNA mutation the patient has polycythemia vera.


There is no cure for primary polycythemia. However, there are various treatments to control the symptoms and decrease complication risks. Such treatments include Bloodletting or phlebotomy often combined with other therapies; prescription of low dose aspirin to reduce the risk thrombotic complications; chemotherapy, which is used sparingly; interferon injections; or bone marrow transplants, which is done only in rare cases.

Symptoms and Signs

Patients may experience itching after being exposed to warm water. Others may have gouty arthritis or peptic ulcer disease. In rare cases, patients may suddenly feel a severe burning of hands and feet, which turns the skin into reddish or bluish in color. This symptom is called erythromelalgia.


DNA mutation causes polycythemia vera. The disorder may be acquired after birth. However, doctors and researchers do not know the reason for the mutation.

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