PV: key facts

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PV is quite an invisible illness so people who see me will often say how well I look, when in reality I feel far from it. I often feel a pressure to just smile and hide my true feelings which is hard on me physically and emotionally.

Polycythemia Vera (PV) is one of a group of rare conditions called myeloproliferative neoplasms (MPNs). MPNs cause the body to produce blood cells in an uncontrolled way.

There are three main types of MPN: essential thrombocythemia (ET), myelofibrosis (MF) and polycythemia vera (PV). These affect the blood cells in different ways. This eBook focuses on PV.

In people with PV, the bone marrow makes too many red blood cells and sometimes too many platelets and white blood cells. When the blood contains too many blood cells, it can become thicker than normal. This can lead to potentially serious health problems such as blood clots, heart attack and strokes. PV usually develops slowly and those who do not suffer complications will usually have a normal or near-normal life expectancy.

Treatments and supportive care are available to manage symptoms of PV and to reduce the risk of complications but they do not treat the underlying cause of the disease.

PV is a rare disease but knowledge about the disease is increasing all the time. The treatment of PV is evolving as new treatment options are currently being investigated, which have the potential to improve the outlook for people with PV.

Making sense of PV >