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Signs and Symptoms

Polycythemia vera (PV) develops slowly, and it may not cause symptoms for many years. The condition is often diagnosed during a routine blood test before severe symptoms occur. 

Symptoms may include:

  • Fatigue
  • Pruritus (itchy skin), especially after warm baths or showers 
  • Reddened face and burning feeling on the skin
  • Headaches, dizziness and weakness
  • Difficulties concentrating 
  • Night sweats 
  • Insomnia
  • Blurred vision, double vision, or seeing dark or blind spots that come and go
  • Ringing in the ears
  • Shortness of breath
  • Angina (chest pain)
  • Weakness
  • Dizziness
  • Excessive bleeding or bruising 
  • Peripheral neuropathy (numbness, tingling or burning sensation in the hands or feet)
  • Swelling and pain in the stomach
  • Feeling full after eating small amounts of food
  • Weight loss for no known reason
  • Bone pain

When PV causes symptoms, they can be troublesome. Reducing symptoms is a key goal of treatment. Therefore, it is important to take an active role in monitoring your PV symptoms. Careful tracking of your symptoms can help you and your doctor better understand how to manage and modify your care over time. View LLS's free booklet Myeloproliferative Neoplasms to find a Myeloproliferative Neoplasm Symptom Assessment Form. 


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