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FAQ: What is the most common cause of secondary polycythemia?

Secondary polycythemia most often develops as a response to chronic hypoxemia, which triggers increased production of erythropoietin by the kidneys. The most common causes of secondary polycythemia include obstructive sleep apnea, obesity hypoventilation syndrome, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD).

Is secondary polycythemia a type of cancer?

Sometimes a condition called “secondary polycythemia” is causing the increase in red blood cells but, unlike PV, it does not begin in the bone marrow and is not a cancer. High red blood cell counts caused by secondary polycythemia are a reaction to another problem such as: High altitude.

Is secondary polycythemia rare?

Secondary polycythemia, also known as secondary erythrocytosis or secondary erythrocythemia, is a rare condition in which your body produces an excess amount of red blood cells. This overproduction of red blood cells thickens your blood.

What is the difference between secondary polycythemia and polycythemia vera?

Secondary polycythemia is defined as an absolute increase in red blood cell mass that is caused by enhanced stimulation of red blood cell production. In contrast, polycythemia vera is characterized by bone marrow with an inherent increased proliferative activity.

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Does dehydration cause secondary polycythemia?

Dehydration is a common cause of relative polycythemia. Absolute polycythemia may be primary or secondary.

How do you get rid of secondary polycythemia?

The main treatments for secondary polycythemia are:

  1. low-dose aspirin to thin your blood.
  2. bloodletting, also known as phlebotomy or venesection.

How long can you live with secondary polycythemia?

The prognosis of patients with secondary polycythemia is generally related to the prognosis of the underlying disorder. However, the polycythemia itself, when physiologic and not sufficiently extreme to cause significant hyperviscosity, is generally associated with a normal life span.

What are causes of secondary polycythemia?

The most common causes of secondary polycythemia include obstructive sleep apnea, obesity hypoventilation syndrome, and chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD). Other causes include testosterone replacement therapy and heavy cigarette smoking.

Does secondary polycythemia go away?

Remember that secondary polycythemia is caused by an underlying condition, most of which are well known and have multiple treatment options available. Once the underlying cause is corrected, symptoms of secondary polycythemia usually go away.

What are two conditions that cause polycythemia?

What are the risk factors for polycythemia?

  • Hypoxia from long standing (chronic) lung disease and smoking are common causes of polycythemia.
  • Chronic carbon monoxide (CO) exposure can also be a risk factor for polycythemia.

When is phlebotomy needed for secondary polycythemia?

Phlebotomy should be performed in any patient with secondary polycythemia prior to any elective surgery. In patients with physiologically appropriate erythrocytosis, as the increased red cell mass is a compensatory mechanism of the body, phlebotomy should not be performed in order to maintain proper tissue oxygenation.

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Can secondary polycythemia cause blood clots?

Polycythemia vera, frequently accompanied by thrombocytosis, leukocytosis and enhanced adhesion of blood cells and endothelial cells, have an enhanced risk of thrombosis. Conversely, the risk of thrombosis associated with secondary polycythemia is uncertain.

Can I donate blood if I have secondary polycythemia?

Having said that if donated blood tests negative for infectious disease and is labeled with blood from polycythemia patient and the recipient consented for this transfusion, then can be used. In the US, FDA discourages the use of donors with Polycythemia Vera but allows self-transfusions of polycythemic blood.

Can Diuretics cause secondary polycythemia?

Relative polycythemia can be found with diuretic use and is seen in the setting of obesity, hyperten- sion, and cigarette smoking.

When should you suspect polycythemia?

Polycythemia vera should be suspected in patients with elevated hemoglobin or hematocrit levels, splenomegaly, or portal venous thrombosis. Secondary causes of increased red blood cell mass (e.g., heavy smoking, chronic pulmonary disease, renal disease) are more common than polycythemia vera and must be excluded.

What can cause relative polycythemia?

Relative polycythemia is an apparent rise of the erythrocyte level in the blood; however, the underlying cause is reduced blood plasma (hypovolemia, cf. dehydration). Relative polycythemia is often caused by loss of body fluids, such as through burns, dehydration, and stress.

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