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Everything you should know: Secondary Polycythemi


It is an increased production of RBCs due to an increase in secretion of erythropoietin hence making the blood thicker, and hindering its passage through blood vessels and organs.
Secondary Polycythemia affects 2 people per 100,000 in the general population, aged over 40 generally. [1]
- Is congenital or acquired
- Mostly genetically caused.
- More common in men than women.
- Secondary to an underlying disease.
- Treatment options available
- Blood tests and other lab tests, an ultrasound scan are required.

Secondary Polycythemia is a slow-growing blood cancer where excess RBCs thicken the blood, decelerate flow causing complications like blood clots that can trigger heart attacks or strokes. 6 to 8 million, sometimes, even 9 million erythrocytes may occur per millimeter of blood. It is known as physiologic polycythemia.


1. Genetic disorders.
2. Certain Tumors that may secrete Erythropoietin (a hormone that stimulates RBC production)
3. Lung or heart diseases, kidney disorders.
4. Poor oxygenation of tissue.
5. Obesity Hypoventilation Syndrome
6. Chronic Obtrusive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
7. Sleep apnea


Self- diagnosable
People may experience:
1. Headaches
2. Blurred vision
3. Abdominal discomfort and pain
4. High blood pressure, dizziness, aftigue.
5. Itchy and red skin, gout.
6. Pelvic inflammatory disease- infection of the upper part of female reproductive system namely fallopian tubes, ovaries, uterus and inside of pelvis.


Self-care: Weight loss, smoking cessation, managing high blood pressure is recommended to prevent blood clots.

Therapy: Treatment of underlined disorder.

Medications: Symptom relief may include medications to relieve itching and to soothe the pain associated with the disorder.

Specialists: For other concerns, consult a hematologist. In some cases, phlebotomy (bloodletting) may be required. At mfine, we provide a holistic treatment plan for optimum health.

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