What Is Polycythemia

 The excess production of red blood cells is mainly due to the process in the bone marrow through a complex order of regulated steps.  Generally harmone regulates the production of red blood cells.  Kidneys secrete a harmone called erythropoietin which regulates the production of RBC.  Very less percentage of harmone is generated by liver.  Oxygen levels gradually decreases and causes malignancy.  At some times the percentage of blood volume varies due to some other reasons like carrying twins in pregnancy or twin transfusion syndrome.  Absolute Polycythemia mainly signifies the variation in oxygen levels.  Circulation of red blood cells in the blood stream results in the fluctuation of oxygen.  Patients suffering from polycythemia will have an increase of hemoglobin and hematocrit.

There are levels prescribed for red blood cells circulation in the bodies of men and women.  When the hematocrit is greater than 48% in women and 52% in men, you can confirm that a person is suffering with polycythemia.  Likewise, if the hemoglobin is 16.5g/DL in women and 18.5 g/dl in men, that condition is also polycythemia. This is further classified in to two categories.  First is primary polycythemia  and second is secondary polycythemia.  Inherent problems in the process of red blood cell production results primary polycythemia and secondary one occurs due to other factors influencing the red blood cell production.

The secretion of the hormone will depends upon the low oxygen levels in the blood.  The situation is called hypoxia.  Oxygen in much quantity will be carried to the tissues and this hormone stimulates the blood cells production to compensate the hypoxia. In some new born kids also, neonatal polycythemia can be seen.  Only 1 – 5% of children will be influenced by this disease.  Transfusion of blood, transfer of placental blood to the infant after delivery, chronic insufficient oxygen of the fetus or due to insufficient placenta are the reasons for the occurrence of this disease to new born babies.

In some people stress polycythemia can be seen.  This results in the reduced levels of plasma.  Mostly this type of syndrome can be found in active, hardworking, middle aged anxious persons.  Though the red blood cell volume is good enough, plasma volume can be seen at low levels.  Thus causes stress to the people .This stress polycythemia is also called Gaisbock’s disease or Pseudopolycythemia. For some people who smoke heavily will suffer with increased levels of deoxygenated hemoglobin. Hemoglobin stops carrying oxygen to the heart and carries carbon dioxide instead thus resulting the increase of red blood cell counts.

There are many symptoms in which we can understand that the person is suffering with polycythemia are weakness, fatigue, joint pains, abdominal pains, dizziness, headache, itching, bruising etc.  Blood disorders can be usually seen.  Bleeding problems and clotting difficulty can be observed.  Itching after bath and joint pains can be clearly observed in most of the patients.

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