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

Polycythemia Treatment

Patient Comments

Treatment of secondary polycythemia depends on its cause. Supplemental oxygen can be provided for individuals with chronic hypoxia. Other therapies can be directed toward treating the cause of polycythemia (for example, appropriate treatment of heart failure or chronic lung disease).

Treatments for primary polycythemia play an important role in improving the outcome of the disease and will be discussed in the following sections.

Polycythemia Self-Care at Home

In individuals with primary polycythemia, some simple measures can be taken at home to control potential symptoms and avoid possible complications.

  • It is important to stay well hydrated in order to avoid concentrating the blood even further by dehydration. In general, there are no restrictions in physical activity.
  • If a person has an enlarged spleen, contact sports may be avoided to prevent splenic injury and rupture.
  • It is best to avoid iron supplementation as this can promote more red blood cell production.
Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 8/14/2015

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