Polycythemia (High Red Blood Cell Count) Topic Guide
Polycythemia: Polycythemia is a condition in which there is an increased number of red blood cells in the blood. There are two types of polycythemia; 1) primary polycythemia and 2) secondary polycythemia. The two main conditions of primary polycythemia are polycythemia vera (PV) and primary familial and congenital polycythemia (PFCP). Causes of secondary polycythemia include conditions as a result of chronic hypoxia such as COPD, emphysema, chronic bronchitis, pulmonary hypertension, congestive heart failure, obstructive sleep apnea, and certain cancers. Examples of symptoms of polycythemia include easy bruising or bleeding, blood clot formation, headache, itching, and fatigue. Treatment for polycythemia depends on the cause. Untreated polycythemia generally has a poor outcome for the patient.
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Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) Chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD) is a lung condition in which there is a long-lasting obstruction of the airways, and occurs with emphysema, chronic bronchitis, and/or asthma. Causes of COPD include cigarette smoking, exposure to secondhand smoke and environmental tobacco smoke, Alpha 1-antitrypsin deficiency, airway hyper-responsiveness, and air pollution. Symptoms of COPD include a productive cough and acute chest illness, shortness of breath, wheezing, heart failure, cyanosis, and weight loss. Treatment of COPD includes medications, oxygen therapy, surgery, and lung transplant.