Polycythemia (High Red Blood Cell Count) - Cause

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What was the cause of your high red blood cell count (polycythemia)?

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What causes polycythemia?

Causes of polycythemia are primary or secondary. In primary polycythemia, abnormalities in red blood cell production cause an increase in red cell count. In secondary polycythemia, external factors result in polycythemia.

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Comment from: DLWSr, 55-64 Male (Patient) Published: July 30

The doctors discovered my polycythemia vera (PV) 5 years ago after being hospitalized and treated 4 times for an aneurysm and heart attacks. The aneurysm was glued shut and they looked at numerous blood counts and finally realized I had a history of high red cell counts. I was given hydroxyurea and phlebotomies of a pint to 500 ml every 4 to 6 weeks. I eventually had a biopsy of my bone marrow done and was prescribed Pegasys interferon injections every week in my abdomen. My counts have stabilized and I no longer need phlebotomies but now suffer from fatigue and other issues that may or may not be attributed to the Pegasys. I had to medically retire due to a number of medical issues and unable to work. My depression from PTSD (post-traumatic stress disorder) and MST have failed to get better as I have found out that Pegasys may be making my depression worse. Although I am happy I no longer require phlebotomies I see that my wife and I must keep constant awareness of the side effects of the interferon injections.

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Comment from: map, 45-54 Female (Patient) Published: February 11

Fibroids were the cause of my high red blood cell count (polycythemia). There were 17 of them but the primary one was very large with a stalk (pedunculated), which was the main trouble maker.

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