Polycythemia Vera Symptoms

Polycythemia vera symptoms may take years to appear.

Polycythemia vera: a disorder resulting in the overproduction of red blood cells. It is believed that the complication originates in the blood-producing cells of the bone marrow.

Polycythemia Vera Symptoms

The earliest symptoms consist of weakness, tiredness, headache, light-headedness, shortness of breath, and night sweats. Vision disturbances such as blind spots or flashes of light may be noted. Bleeding gums in the mouth and excessive bleeding from small are typical.

The skin may have a ruddy appearance with itching. This will get worse after bathing or a shower. A feeling or sensation of burning in the hands and feet may be experienced.

Because of the increase of red blood cells, the flow of blood could slow down. This increases the risk of clots.

If you get a clot in the arm or leg it may be accompanied by numbness and tingling.

If the clot breaks loose, it could cause a life threatening respiratory condition. A clot in the heart could cause a heart attack. In the brain, a stroke would result. If the blood flow is blocked from the liver, yet another danger will be presented.

Sometimes there is an increase in the number of platelets in the blood stream. If this should happen, there will be a risk of an enlarged spleen and liver.

The Diagnosis

Polycythemia vera is diagnosed based on a number of tests and measurements. Since there are other similar disorders, additional tests can confirm the diagnosis.

In no case should you try to self diagnosis or self treat with out the supervision of a doctor. The most serious complications related to polycythemia vera can be prevented with a simple treatment.

Polycythemia vera Symptoms and Signs

In its early stages, polycythemia vera often times does not cause any signs or symptoms. However, with the progression of the disease, you may experience:

Shortness of breath

Breathing difficulty when you lie down








Ringing in the ears (tinnitus)

Vision changes or disturbances

Fullness or bloating in left upper abdomen (from an enlarged spleen)

Chest pain

Itchiness (puritis), most notable after a warm bath or shower

Ruddy or redness skin complexion

May also be noted in the nail beds, palms, mucous membranes of the mouth and the conjunctiva of the eye.


This will be abnormal bleeding - nosebleeds, gums bleeding, bruising, digestive system bleeding most notable in the stools.

Related signs and symptoms will include enlarged spleen (splenomegaly) and/or liver (hepatomegaly)

In the Hands and Feet

Numbness, tingling



Blood tests are done for diagnosis. Phlebotomy is done to remove excess red blood cells.

More About Polycythemia Rubra Vera

Other Common Blood Diseases

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