Glossary Term:

Title

polycythemia vera

Phonetic

<b>pah</b>-lee-sy-<b>THEME</b>-e-uh <b>vair</b>-uh

Description

a chronic blood disorder in which the bone marrow makes too many red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets. This leads to a higher concentration of hemoglobin with larger amounts of red blood cells, which is the main feature of this disease. But with time, the high platelet count may become more of a problem and patients can suffer from problems with blood clots because of this and their “thickened” blood. Often, the spleen is enlarged. Over time, the bone marrow is replaced by fibrous tissue (myelofibrosis). Although it is not a true cancer, it often turns into acute myelogenous leukemia (AML) after many years. See also bone marrow, leukemia, platelet, red blood cells, spleen, white blood cells.