Thrombocythemia

What is thrombocythemia?

Thrombocythemia is a myeloproliferative disorder. It is characterized by the production of too many platelets in the bone marrow. Too many platelets make normal clotting of blood difficult.

What causes thrombocythemia?

There is no known cause for thrombocythemia.

What are the symptoms of thrombocythemia?

The following are the most common symptoms of thrombocythemia. However, each individual may experience symptoms differently. Symptoms may include:

  • increased blood clots in arteries and veins

  • bleeding

  • bruising easily

  • bleeding from the nose, gums, gastrointestinal tract

  • bloody stools

  • hemorrhaging after injury or surgery

  • weakness

  • enlarged lymph nodes

The symptoms of thrombocythemia may resemble other blood disorders or medical problems. Always consult your physician for a diagnosis.

How is thrombocythemia diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for thrombocythemia may include additional blood tests to measure blood counts and elevated platelet levels. Bone marrow biopsy (the marrow may be removed by aspiration or a needle biopsy under local anesthesia.) may also be necessary.

Treatment for thrombocythemia:

Specific treatment for thrombocythemia will be determined by your physician based on:

  • your age, overall health, and medical history

  • extent of the disease

  • your tolerance for specific medications, procedures, or therapies

  • expectations for the course of the disease

  • your opinion or preference

Treatment may include:

  • chemotherapy

  • plateletpheresis - a procedure to remove extra platelets from the blood.

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