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Date of last update: 10/17/2017.

Forum Name: Endocrinology Topics

Question: Polycythemia?

 Foxknob - Sat Jan 14, 2006 10:40 pm

I've had a few bouts with hypoglycemia lately. My doctor refered me to an endocrinologist and my blood test results came today. all were normal except for:
BUN - 25 (slighlty high)
Creatinine - 1.4 (slightly high)
Total Bilirubin - 1.52 (slightly high)
Alkaline Phosphatase - 29 (little low)

RBC - 5.80 (slighlty high)
HGB - 18.0 (High)
HCT - 51.9 (High)
MPV - 10.7 (slightly high)

My endocrinologist has suggested I talk to my family physician about these results. He says my blood is too thick and says this may be polycythemia.
Isn't this a form of Lukemia?
 SDD - Wed Jan 18, 2006 3:02 pm

Usually your primary care physician will refer you to a HEM/ONC physician if he/she suspects that you have polycythemia vera. The HEM/ONC doctor should be able to answer all of your questions and concerns.
 Dr. Shank - Wed Feb 01, 2006 6:37 pm

Dear Foxknob:

I note that your BUN and creatinine were elevated. Besides kidney disease, this may also be seen with volume depletion (such as if you did not drink anything for a while before your test.) Have the tests repeated, before you go off on what could be a wild goose chase.

The most common cause of a true elevated red blood cell count (erythrocytosis) is decreased oxygen levels. This is most commonly seen in smokers with lung damage or in people with sleep apnea. For about $50-80, a test of your oxygen levels overnight (recording pulse oximeter) can be performed.

If that is normal and you really do have an increase in your red blood cell count, then a hematologist consultatation would be reasonable, but you primary physician should go ahead and order an ultrasound, CT, or MRI of your kidneys to make sure that you do not have a kidney tumor (producing a hormone called erythropoetin).

Technically, polycythemia vera only refers to an increase in all blood cell lines, not just red blood cells.

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