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I have been told I have too many red blood cells. What does this mean and how will it affect me?

1 answer | Last updated: Jul 18, 2014
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I have been told I have too many red blood cells. What does this mean and how will it affect me?
 

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Caring.com User - Jennifer Serafin, N.P.
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Jennifer Serafin, N.P. is a registered nurse and geriatric nurse practitioner at the Jewish Homes for the Aged in San Francisco.

Too many red blood cells is caused by a disorder called polycythemia vera rubra. This is a genetic condition that causes the bone marrow to produce too many red blood See also:
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cells. This can cause the blood to become thicker, leading to more health problems like clots in the legs, and even heart attacks and strokes if the red counts get too high.

Although the condition has no cure, it can be managed with the proper treatment. I would recommend that you see a Hematologist to discuss all your options. They would usually start by monitoring your labs, and if you counts get too high, they might try the following treatments: 1) Phlebotomy: Blood is removed (like if you donating it), which reduces the red blood cell level. 2) Chemotherapy: Hydroxyurea is used with good success to help reduce red blood cells.
3) Interferon injections have been tried with some success.

I would also recommend you talk to your Hematologist about Aspirin therapy, as this may reduce your clotting risk. Good luck!

 

 
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