Life-threatening ailment

Polycythaemia vera is a form of cancer that begins in the marrow causing the marrow to make too many blood cells, which makes the blood thick. The disease usually develops slowly because of which people fail to identify any symptoms during the initial stages. Without treatment, the disease can become life-threatening. However, adequate medical assistance can help ease the symptoms and complications of the disease.

The disease occurs when a mutation in a gene causes a problem with blood cell production.

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Normally, the body regulates the number of each of the three types of blood cells i.e. red blood cells, white blood cells and platelets. However, in polycythaemia vera, the number of blood cells can be irregular. Symptoms can vary among different people, but they include the inability to concentrate, fatigue or weakness, nosebleeds, numbness, night sweats, bruises, etc. Some women also experience a heavy menstrual flow. It is worth noting that these side effects also occur in other blood issues or medical conditions. Therefore, people must consult a doctor to get a proper diagnosis. The doctor will undertake a physical exam and blood tests to check for the increased number of red blood cells in your body.

If individuals do not have many symptoms, doctors will not suggest an immediate treatment. However, in more severe cases the treatment includes the phlebotomy in which the doctor takes the blood from the veins to reduce blood cells. Once it’s done, the blood is thinner and flows more easily. The doctor will decide how often you need phlebotomy as some people do not require frequent treatment. To keep yourself comfortable and healthy during the treatment, you should undertake leg and ankle exercises, drink more water and bathe with cool water if warm water makes you itch, avoid smoking or chewing tobacco, and avoid situations that can impact your condition.

SYED FAREHA NAZ

KARACHI

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