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

When to Seek Medical Care

People with primary polycythemia need to be aware of some of the potentially serious complications that may occur. The formation of blood clots (heart attacks, strokes, blood clots in the lungs [pulmonary embolism] or legs [deep vein thrombosis]) and uncontrolled hemorrhaging (nosebleeds, gastrointestinal bleeding) typically require prompt medical attention by the treating physician or emergency department.

Patients with primary polycythemia are usually cared for by their primary care physicians, internists, family physicians, and hematologists (doctors who specialize in blood disorders).

Conditions leading to secondary polycythemia can be managed by primary care physicians and internists in addition to specialists. For example, people with long- standing lung disease may routinely see their lung doctor (pulmonologist) and those with chronic heart disease may see their heart doctor (cardiologist).

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 5/30/2014

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