Polycythemia (High Red Blood Cell Count) (cont.)

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What are the symptoms of polycythemia?

Symptoms of polycythemia can be none to minimal in many people. There are some general and non-specific symptoms that can be seen with polycythemia. Some of these include:

In patients with polycythemia vera, other blood disorders are also very common. Thus, bleeding problems or clotting events may be seen in these patients. Itching after showers or baths (post-bath pruritus) can also be seen in patients with polycythemia vera for unclear reasons. Joint pains also common in patients with polycythemia vera. Tender redness of the palms and soles is called erythromelalgia.

Symptoms of secondary polycythemia may be more closely attributed to the underlying condition, such as, chronic lung disease, than to polycythemia itself. Therefore, shortness of breath, chronic cough, sleep disturbance (sleep apnea), dizziness, poor exercise tolerance, or fatigue may be common in patients with polycythemia.

If polycythemia is related to kidney cancer, liver cancer, or other erythropoietin secreting tumors, the symptoms of these conditions, such as, weight loss, abdominal pain or fullness, or jaundice may be predominant.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/29/2015

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