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Polycythemia

Polycythemia is an abnormal increase in the number of red blood cells produced by the bone marrow. The extra numbers of red blood cells cause blood to thicken and may increase the risk of blood clots that may cause heart attacks or strokes.

Treatment for polycythemia (also called erythrocythemia) sometimes involves removing red blood cells (much like donating blood) from the blood. But this procedure may decrease iron levels in the body.

Last Revised: October 15, 2012

Author: Healthwise Staff

Medical Review: Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine & Brian Leber, MDCM, FRCPC - Hematology

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