What are the symptoms of Polycythemia Vera?

By  ,  National Institute of Health
Jun 28, 2011

Polycythemia vera (PV) develops slowly. The disease may not cause signs or symptoms for years.

When signs and symptoms do occur, they're the result of the thick blood that occurs with PV. This thickness slows the flow of oxygen-rich blood to all parts of your body. Without enough oxygen, many parts of your body won't work normally.

The most common signs and symptoms of PV include:

  • Headache, dizziness, and weakness
  • Shortness of breath and problems breathing while lying down
  • Feelings of pressure or fullness on the left side of the abdomen due to an enlarged spleen
  • Double or blurred vision and blind spots
  • Itching all over (especially after a warm bath), reddened face, and a burning feeling on your skin (especially your hands and feet)
  • Bleeding from your gums and heavy bleeding from small cuts
  • Unexplained weight loss
  • Fatigue (tiredness)

In rare cases, people who have PV may have pain in their bones.


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