What is PV (Polycythemia Vera) ? Symptoms, Causes, Diagnosis, and Treatment

Are you Worried about What is PV?

If you are concerned to know what is PV, then Polycythemia vera (PV) is an illness categorized into the cancer family. This is a sort of blood cancer that is rarely seen in people. The basis of this cancer is the increased quantity of red blood cells produced in the body. As you know that it is the duty of red blood cells to carry oxygen to all the parts of the body.

The problem arises with more red blood cells are that it makes the blood cells thicken and then the blood flow will be slow. This creates clumps and thereby clots inside the blood vessels.

When you have too many red blood cells, your blood thickens and flows more slowly. The red blood cells can clump together and form clots inside your blood vessels.

Hence, when you find any symptoms of PV, you need to immediately seek medical advice as untreated PV will lead to deadly health complications. In this condition, your blood flow in the body will be slow and therefore, the amount of oxygen that reaches your brain, heart and other organs will be less than the normally needed quantity.

When you think about what is PV, it can even lead to issues of death and sudden organ failures. The condition will also result in blood clots, which creates blocks in the blood flow and thereby the blood vessels will be blocked. This condition of PV will be a reason for life-threatening diseases like scaring of the bone marrow, causing leukemia.

There is no cure for PV yet introduced. However, you can subside the illness through some medical treatment. The main issue is the blood clots in your body due to PV. For this, your doctor will prescribe the necessary medicines and treatments. You need to talk to the doctor if you are at risk of its symptoms.

Polycythemia Vera Signs and Symptoms

Now you what is PV, the main issue of this disease are that you may not notice the symptoms for several years. Hence, initially, it will be difficult for you to know whether you are affected by PV. Even though you start to notice some symptoms in the body, these can be mild and don’t look like serious health issues. Until you take a blood test for PV, it can be difficult to track down whether you affected with PV.

So, what is PV? It is always advisable to recognize the PV symptoms at an early stage so that you can take the necessary treatments at the right time.

Let’s see here what is PV symptoms:

Early Symptoms Polycythemia Vera:

  • Fatigue
  • Itching
  • Trouble breathing when you lie down
  • Trouble concentrating
  • Unplanned weight loss
  • Pain in your abdomen
  • Feeling easily full
  • Blurred or double vision
  • Dizziness
  • Weakness
  • Heavy sweating
  • Bleeding or bruising

The late Symptom of Polycythemia Vera:

When the disease advances, the seriousness of its symptoms also becomes worse and people will get to understand what is PV, and PV symptoms through treatment. Your blood flow will be slower as the blood gets thickened fast due to an increased number of red blood cells. So, you can find the below serious symptoms of PV:

  • Heavy bleeding from even minor cuts
  • Swollen joints
  • Bone pain
  • Reddish color to your face
  • Bleeding gums
  • Burning feeling in your hands or feet

However, some of the above symptoms are common for other illnesses also. Hence, you need to undertake proper treatment to know polycythemia vera symptoms whether your symptoms are related to PV.

What are the Causes and Risk Factors of Polycythemia Vera?

You can know what is PV disease with the causes of PV that can happen in both men and women. People who are more likely to get the disease are over 60 years. However, it can also happen for any age group of people.
PV results when mutations happen to the JAK2 gene which controls the production of protein cells.

These protein cells help in the creation of blood cells. Most of the people, around 95% of them have PV medical condition due to this type of mutation.

The mutation which causes PV is mainly passed from family hereditary. However, without a family history of PV, it can still affect the person. The genetic impact of PV and its risk factors are under scientific research.

What does PV mean? What to do with its risk? The risk of developing PV has based on these factors as well as the possibilities of you getting higher levels of blood clots. Factors that cause risks of blood clots due to PV also include:

  • Blood clots family history
  • Aged over 60 years
  • High blood pressure
  • Smoking
  • Diabetes
  • High cholesterol
  • Pregnancy

The blood clots will be created more when your blood gets thicker. Hence, looking at these symptoms you can take the necessary precautions.

Diagnosis of Polycythemia Vera

So, what is PV medical condition?

Polycythemia vera is not recognizable in the initial stages as we discussed above. However, when you start seeing any of the above symptoms, you can immediately seek the help of a doctor and get your Complete blood count (CBC) checked. The CBC measures can be variates based on the following:

  • The number of red blood cells
  • The number of white blood cells
  • The number of platelets
  • The amount of hemoglobin (a protein that carries oxygen)
  • The percentage of space taken up by red blood cells in the blood, known as the hematocrit

If you have PV, you’ll likely have a higher-than-ordinary measure of red platelets and hemoglobin and an unusually high hematocrit. You may also have strange platelet checks or white cell counts.

If you’re CBC results are anomalous, your primary care physician will probably check your blood for the JAK2 change. Many people with PV test constructive for this sort of change.

Apart from other blood tests, you’ll likely need a bone marrow biopsy to affirm a polycythemia vera diagnosis and what is PV disease.

If your doctor reveals to you that you have PV disease, remember that the sooner you know, the sooner you can begin treatment. Also, treatment diminishes your danger of entanglements from PV.

Polycythemia Vera Treatment

What is PV is that it is a chronic condition that doesn’t have a fix. Be that as it may, treatment can assist you in dealing with its side effects and help forestall difficulties. Your primary care physician will recommend a treatment plan depending on your danger of creating blood clots.

Treatment for low-risk people

If you think what is PV illness, then the average treatment for those at okay of blood clots incorporates two things: headache medicine and a strategy called phlebotomy.

  • Low-dose aspirin. Aspirin medicine influences the platelets in your blood, diminishing your risk of framing blood clots.
  • Phlebotomy. Using a needle, your doctor will expel a limited quantity of blood from one of your veins. This decreases your red platelet tally. You’ll ordinarily have this treatment about once per week, and afterward once at regular intervals until your hematocrit level is nearer to normal.

How Treatment Works for High-risk People

In addition to aspirin and phlebotomy, individuals at high risk of blood clots may require high specific treatment, for example, different drugs. These can include:

Hydroxyurea (Droxia, Hydrea). This is cancer that keeps your body from making such a large number of red platelets. It lessens your risk of blood clots. To know what is PV medical, Hydroxyurea is utilized off-mark to treat PV.

Interferon-alpha. This medication enables your fight off to ward off the overactive bone marrow cells that are a part of PV. It can likewise hinder your body from making such a large number of red platelets. Like hydroxyurea, interferon-alpha is utilized off-name to treat PV.

Busulfan (Myleran). This cancer drug is approved to treat cancer, yet it very well may be utilized off-label to treat PV.

Ruxolitinib (Jakafi). This is the main medication affirmed by the approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to treat PV. Your PCP may endorse this medication when you can’t endure hydroxyurea, or if hydroxyurea doesn’t bring down your blood tally enough. Ruxolitinib works by restraining development factors liable for making red platelets and immune system functioning

Polycythemia Vera Diet

After knowing what is PV, the eating routine prescribed for individuals with PV is equivalent to it is for anybody. Eat even dinners complete with new foods grown from the ground, entire grains, lean protein, and low-fat dairy. Ask your PCP what number of calories you ought to expend every day to keep up a solid weight.

Also, observe how much salt you eat. High-sodium nourishments can make your body move water into your body’s tissues, which can make a portion of your PV side effects more awful. Additionally, drink enough liquids to keep away from drying out and keep up great bloodstream and course. Your primary care physician can give individualized direction on diet and water consumption.

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Polycythemia Vera Prognosis

Your prognosis with PV relies to a great extent upon whether you get treatment. Treatment diminishes your risk of dangerous inconveniences, for example,

• Myelofibrosis: the propelled phase of PV that scars the bone marrow and can broaden the liver and spleen

• Heart attack
• Deep vein thrombosis (DVT)
• Ischemic stroke: a stroke caused by loss of blood supply to the brain
• Pulmonary embolism: a blood clot in the lung
• Hemorrhagic death: death from bleeding, usually from the stomach or other parts of the digestive tract
• Portal hypertension: increased blood pressure in the liver that can lead to liver failure
• Acute myeloid leukemia (AML): a particular type of blood cancer that affects white blood cells

These inconveniences from PV are conceivable even with treatment; however, the risk is a lot of lower. For people with PV, only 5 to 15 percent is present. Trusted Sources have ordinarily evolved myelofibrosis 15 years after the determination. What’s more, under 10 percent have ordinarily evolved leukemia 20 years after analysis. However, individuals who get treatment have a vastly improved viewpoint than those without it.

Also, dealing with yourself and your general wellbeing can bring down your danger of blood clusters from PV. Stopping smoking, remaining truly dynamic, and overseeing other wellbeing conditions you have, for example, diabetes, hypertension, and coronary illness can likewise improve your viewpoint. Get familiar with polycythemia vera anticipation.

Polycythemia Vera Life Expectancy

Everybody’s situation with PV is extraordinary. However, many people who adhere to their treatment plan and see their hematologist consistently can hope to carry on with a long existence with constrained confusions.

Treatment is basic. People with no treatment can ordinarily hope to survive under two years, contingent upon age and overall health. In any case, the people who have treatment can live a few other years. The normal length of survival after finding is in any event 20 years, and people can live for quite a long time longer. Get familiar with polycythemia vera future.

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The Takeaway

Polycythemia vera is an uncommon blood disease that builds your risk of risky blood clots and different complexities. It’s not repairable, yet it is treatable.

If you have polycythemia vera, converse with your essential consideration doctor or hematologist about the correct treatment plan for you. This will probably incorporate phlebotomy and drugs. Getting the consideration you need as quickly as time permits can help forestall blood clots, decline inconveniences, and improve the quality and length of your life.


Median survival in patients with polycythemia vera (PV), which is 1.5-3 years without treatment, has been stretched out to roughly 14 years generally speaking, and to 24 years for patients more young people than 60 years old, in view of new helpful tools.

A great side effect of polycythemia vera is pruritus or tingling, especially after introduction to warm water, (for example, when cleaning up), which might be because of irregular histamine discharge or prostaglandin creation. Such tingling is available in around 40% of patients with polycythemia vera.

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