sunflowery's Diaryland Diary

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What Supe is Up Against

If I could build a time machine that would take me into the future and back, I would. Then I would find out what the winning Power Ball numbers would be and pick those so at least money would be the one thing in the world we didn't have to worry about. Oh for a good time machine.

When you Google Polycythemia...here is what you get: 1st On the List Definition-Polycythemia vera is an abnormal increase in blood cells (primarily red blood cells) resulting from excess production by the bone marrow. Polycythemia vera is an acquired disorder of the bone marrow that causes the overproduction of all three blood cell lines: white blood cells, red blood cells, and platelets. It is a rare disease that occurs more frequently in men than women, and rarely in patients under 40 years old. It is not known what causes polycythemia vera. The disease usually develops slowly, and most patients do not experience any problems related to the disease after being diagnosed. However, the abnormal bone marrow cells may begin to grow uncontrollably in some patients leading to acute myelogenous leukemia. Patients with polycythemia vera also have an increased tendency to form blood clots that can result in strokes or heart attacks. Some patients may experience abnormal bleeding because their platelets are abnormal.

2nd On the List Polycythemia vera is a clonal stem cell disorder characterized by excessive erythrocyte production. Its etiology is not fully established, but hypersensitivity to interleukin-3 may play a role in the sustained erythrocytosis observed in this disease.

Polycythemia vera usually occurs within the age range of 20-80, with 60 being the mean age of onset. The disease is slightly more common in males than in females. Clinical features include headaches, weakness, weight loss, and pruritus (itching without visible eruption on the skin). 10-15 % of patients may also present with gout due to hyperuricemia. Hemorrhage, thrombosis and hyperviscosity may be evident at any time. Splenomegaly, as a result of vascular congestion, is seen in 75% of patients at the time of presentation. Hepatomegaly is observed in about 30% of cases.

3rd On the List polycythemia vera, By James Broomfield, MD: Polycythemia vera is a blood cancer that causes red blood cells to multiply. White blood cells and platelets may also multiply. Polycythemia vera causes the red blood cells to multiply. Red blood cells are the oxygen-carrying cells of the body. Other cells of the blood can also multiply. White blood cells, the infection fighting cells in the body, and platelets, which help blood to clot, are also usually affected. Symptoms of polycythemia vera are often related to the abnormally high number of blood cells. Symptoms usually come on gradually, and may include: headache weakness and fatigue light-headedness or dizziness itching, especially after a hot shower or bath visual impairments shortness of breath or trouble breathing a red color to the skin, especially in the face abnormal bleeding bone pain an enlarged spleen or liver a blood clot in a vein, also called deep venous thrombosis. Some people have no symptoms at all, and the diagnosis is made accidentally when a routine blood test is done. The cause of polycythemia vera is unknown. It is slightly more common in those who are Jewish. Men are more commonly affected than women. More than 95% of cases occur in people older than 40 years of age. There is no known prevention for polycythemia vera. The diagnosis of polycythemia vera may be suspected after a history and physical exam. A blood test called a complete blood count (CBC) is the first step in making the diagnosis. This test counts the number of each of the kinds of blood cells. A person with polycythemia vera has an elevated red blood cell count, and usually has elevated white blood cell and platelet counts as well. Other blood tests, such as a vitamin B12 level or an erythropoietin level, may also be done. Often, a procedure called a bone marrow biopsy is done to help confirm the diagnosis. This involves inserting a special needle through the skin of the upper buttock area and into the pelvic bone. The needle is used to take a sample of bone marrow, the soft material found inside certain bones where blood cells are made. The sample of marrow can be sent to the lab for examination and special testing. After diagnosis, most people with polycythemia vera live no more than 15 years with treatment. Without treatment, a person may only live a few years. This cancer increases the risk of life-threatening blood clots and bleeding. In some cases, polycythemia vera may transform into the more aggressive blood cancer leukemia. Polycythemia vera is not contagious, and poses no risk to others. Treatment does not cure polycythemia vera. The goal of treatment is to thin the blood enough to decrease the risk of clots and abnormal bleeding. One of the main treatments is to remove some of the person's blood, in a procedure called phlebotomy. The person has blood removed regularly to keep it from getting too thick. A needle is inserted through the skin and into a vein, usually in the hand or forearm. Blood is then removed with the needle.

Chemotherapy is also used in some cases to improve survival. Aspirin can be given to help decrease the risk of blood clots. Most people die from polycythemia vera or its complications, with or without treatment. Treatment can allow a person to live longer in most cases, but cannot cure the cancer.

Great reading, huh? Yeah.

1:21 p.m. - Wednesday, May. 05, 2004
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