Polycythemia Vera | Overview


What is polycythemia vera?

Polycythemia (say: "polly-sigh-thee-me-ah") vera (PV) is a rare disease in which your body makes too many red blood cells. Your blood may become too thick. This causes serious health problems. PV increases the risk of abnormal blood clots, which could lead to a stroke. This disease occurs most often in people who are about 60 years old or older.

How will PV affect my life?

PV is a serious illness that can cause death, especially if it is not treated. However, with new treatments, people who have the disease are living longer, many for a normal life-span.


Polycythemia Vera by BJ Stuart, LT, MC, USNR, AJ Viera, LCDR, MC, USNR (American Family Physician May 01, 2004, http://www.aafp.org/afp/20040501/2139.html)

Written by familydoctor.org editorial staff

Reviewed/Updated: 04/14
Created: 01/05