Medical University of South Carolina Hospital logo
Home |  Video Library | Podcast Library | e-Newsletters | Classes & Events | About Us | News Blog | University & Colleges 
Contact Us | 843-792-1414
  

Patients & Visitors

Medical Services

Maps & Parking

Health Library

Physician Portal

Careers

Online Services
Health Library
Health Topics A to Z
Clinical Trials & Research
Tests & Procedures
Lab Tests & Results
Health Assessment Tools
Treatment Options
Symptom Checker
Health e-Newsletters
Podcast Library
Video Library
Health Library
Bookmark Page icon Bookmark |

Print this page icon

|

E-mail icon

Health Library : Hematology and Blood Disorders

 

Thrombocythemia

What are myeloproliferative disorders?

Myeloproliferative disorders are diseases in which the bone marrow produces too many of one of the three types of blood cells:

Red blood cells, which carry oxygen to all the tissues in the body

White blood cells, which fight infection

Platelets, which makes blood clot

What is thrombocythemia?

Thrombocythemia, also called primary or essential 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. This can result in too much clotting, or not enough clotting.

What causes thrombocythemia?

There may be no single cause for thrombocythemia. It is believed to be caused by mutations to megakaryocytes, the platelet-making cells in the bone marrow.

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:

  • Blood clots in arteries and veins, commonly in the hands, feet, and brain
  • Bleeding
  • Bruising easily
  • Bleeding from the nose, gums, and gastrointestinal tract
  • Bloody stools
  • Hemorrhaging after injury or surgery
  • Weakness
  • Headache and dizziness
  • Enlarged lymph nodes

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

How is thrombocythemia diagnosed?

In addition to a complete medical history and physical examination, diagnostic procedures for thrombocythemia may include blood tests to measure blood counts, and a blood smear to further assess your platelets. Excluding other causes of reactive thrombocytosis as well as other myeloproliferative disorders is important in the workup. 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 doctor 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. This is most often administered with hydroxyurea, an oral chemotherapy drug, or interferon alpha.
  • Plateletpheresis. This is a procedure to remove extra platelets from the blood.

Click here to view the
Online Resources of Hematology & Blood Disorders


 Sources & References

OUR SERVICES

 

RELATED INFORMATION

 Tests & Procedures:
 »Bone Biopsy
 »Bone Marrow Biopsy
 »Bone Scan
 » View All 4

About This Site   |   Disclaimer   |  Privacy   |   Accessibility   |   Donations   |   Site Map
171 Ashley Avenue, Charleston, SC 29403 1.843.792.1414 | © 2014 Medical University of South Carolina

mobile web site iconrss feed iconText Messaging iconPodcast Library