Polycythemia vera (PV) is a type of blood cancer that produces a high number of red blood cells in a person’s body. PV symptoms can be difficult to detect but are generally caused by this abnormally high red blood cell count which causes the blood to thicken. Because thicker blood moves less easily through the body it limits the amount of oxygen that is received by the body’s organs and tissues. Possible symptoms can include:
• Blurred vision
• Abnormal itching
• Sudden weight loss
• Experiencing a burning sensation in the hands and feet
• Redness in facial skin
• Heavy sweating
PV can become a threat to a person’s life when blood clots form that cut off oxygen supply to vital organs and can cause strokes, heart attacks, intestinal damage and pulmonary embolisms (which occur when blood clots from in the lungs).