Diseases & Conditions


A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Polycythemia Vera


Synonyms of Polycythemia Vera
  • Erythremia
  • Osler-Vaquez Disease
  • Polycythemia Rubra Vera
  • Primary Polycythemia
  • Splenomegalic Polycythemia
  • Vaquez-Osler Disease

Disorder Subdivisions



    General Discussion
    Polycythemia vera is a rare, chronic disorder involving the overproduction of blood cells in the bone marrow (myeloproliferation). The overproduction of red blood cells is most dramatic, but the production of white blood cells and platelets are also elevated in most cases. Since red blood cells are overproduced in the marrow, this leads to abnormally high numbers of circulating red blood cells (red blood mass) within the blood. Consequently, the blood thickens and increases in volume, a condition called hyperviscosity. Thickened blood may not flow through smaller blood vessels properly. A variety of symptoms can occur in individuals with polycythemia vera including nonspecific symptoms such as headaches, fatigue, weakness, dizziness or itchy skin; an enlarged spleen (splenomegaly); a variety of gastrointestinal issues; and the risk of blood clot formation, which may prevent blood flow to vital organs. More than 90 percent of individuals with polycythemia vera have a mutation of the JAK2 gene. The exact role that this mutation plays in the development of polycythemia vera is not yet known.

    Polycythemia vera belongs to a group of diseases known as the myeloproliferative disorders (MPDs). This group of disorders is characterized by the overproduction (proliferation) of one or more of the three main blood cell lines ? red or white blood cells or platelets. Red blood cells carry oxygen to the body. White blood cells fight infection. Platelets are involved in clotting of the blood in response to injury. Three other disorders are commonly classified as MPDs: chronic myeloid leukemia, essential thrombocythemia and idiopathic myelofibrosis. Because the MPDs are characterized by uncontrolled cell growth, they may also be classified as blood cancers.

    Organizations related to Polycythemia Vera
    • American Cancer Society, Inc.
      1599 Clifton Road NE
      Atlanta GA 30329
      Phone #: 404-320-3333
      800 #: 800-227-2345
      e-mail: N/A
      Home page: http://www.cancer.org
    • CMPD Education Foundation
      PO Box 4758
      Scottsdale AZ 85261
      Phone #: 480-443-1975
      800 #: N/A
      e-mail: jniblack@mpdinfo.org
      Home page: http://www.mpdinfo.org
    • Leukemia & Lymphoma Society
      1311 Mamaroneck Ave
      White Plains NY 10605
      Phone #: 914-949-5213
      800 #: 800-955-4572
      e-mail: infocenter@LLS.org
      Home page: http://www.LLS.org
    • MUMS (Mothers United for Moral Support, Inc) National Parent-to-Parent Network
      150 Custer Court
      Green Bay WI 54301-1243
      Phone #: 920-336-5333
      800 #: 877-336-5333
      e-mail: mums@netnet.net
      Home page: http://www.netnet.net/mums/
    • Madisons Foundation
      PO Box 241956
      Los Angeles CA 90024
      Phone #: 310-264-0826
      800 #: N/A
      e-mail: getinfo@madisonsfoundation.org
      Home page: http://www.madisonsfoundation.org
    • Myeloproliferative Disease Support and Free Daily Email Digest
      2011 Flagler Ave.
      Key West FL 33040
      Phone #: 305-295-4444
      800 #: N/A
      e-mail: roberttollen@gmail.com or mensabrain@aol.com
      Home page: http://www.MPDSUPPORT.ORG
    • Myeloproliferative Mailing List (MPD-SUPPORT-L)
      3706 North Roosevelt Blvd.
      Key West FL 44030
      Phone #: 305-295-4444
      800 #: --
      e-mail: lov2laf@bellsouth.net
      Home page: http://www.mpdsupport.org
    • NIH/National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute
      31 Center Drive MSC 2480
      Bethesda MD 20892-2480
      Phone #: 301-592-8573
      800 #: --
      e-mail: nhlbiinfo@rover.nhlbi.nih.gov
      Home page: http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/
    • National Cancer Institute
      6116 Executive Blvd, MSC 8322, Room 3036A
      Bethesda MD 20892-8322
      Phone #: 301-435-3848
      800 #: 800-422-6237
      e-mail: N/A
      Home page: http://www.cancer.gov



    For a Complete Report

    This is an abstract of a report from the National Organization for Rare Disorders, Inc. ? (NORD). A copy of the complete report can be obtained for a small fee by visiting the NORD website. The complete report contains additional information including symptoms, causes, affected population, related disorders, standard and investigational treatments (if available), and references from medical literature. For a full-text version of this topic, see http://www.rarediseases.org/search/rdblist.html