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Polycythemia Vera

Polycythemia vera is a medical disorder where it involves the bone marrow. The bone marrow will produce too much red blood cells that slow blood flow and cause several life-threatening medical conditions such as stroke or heart attack. This disorder develops gradually and if diagnosed early on, individuals with polycythemia vera will be able to lead normal and longer life with proper medical care. Polycythemia vera is common in males and whose age is 60 and over. However, it can still affect everyone.

Early warning signs could include dizziness and/or a general feeling of being tired. But the most accurate test that would confirm you are suffering from polycythemia vera is a blood test. The result will usually show an unusually high number of red blood cells.

The following are some of the most common signs and symptoms of polycythemia vera:

  • shortness of breath, especially if you are lying down
  • sweating, most common at night
  • weakness
  • dizziness
  • weight loss
  • headaches
  • double vision or vision problems
  • fatigue
  • red skin spots
  • bluish skin discoloration

Polycythemia vera is considered a blood cancer. This medical condition will occur when there is a mutation in a gene which causes excessive red blood cell production. Though the body usually regulates the production of red blood cells, the bone marrow just makes too much red blood cells.

If left untreated abnormal amounts of red blood cells in the body can lead to several medical disorders such as:
Blood clots – the blood becomes too viscous because of too much red blood cells. When this happens the blood flow is affected. It becomes slow. Blood clots are one of the most common complications which will lead to stroke or any forms of blockage in any arteries in the lungs.
Splenomegaly or enlargement of the spleen – the spleen helps the body in fighting infections and remove toxins including old or damaged blood cells. With polycythemia vera, the spleen would need to work double time because of increased blood cells.

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If you think you are suffering from Polycythemia Vera you should seek medical assistance. You may also be entitled to Social Security Disability Benefits. The SSA considered Polycythemia Vera as a medical condition that would make you eligible for SSDI and SSI. Social Security Administration (SSA) maintains a “Listing of Medical Impairments” (known as the blue book) that automatically qualify you for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI) or Supplemental Security Income (SSI).