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Polycythemia (High Red Blood Cell Count) (cont.)

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Can other sources of Erythropoietin (EPO) cause polycythemia?

Erythropoietin (EPO) has been made synthetically for clinical treatment of certain types of anemia. Some professional athletes have used this type of injectable EPO (blood doping) to improve their performance in competitions by producing more hemoglobin and, therefore, improving the delivery of oxygen to their tissues, mainly muscles. This type of doping practice is banned by many professional sport committees.

What is relative polycythemia?

In some forms of secondary polycythemia, the hemoglobin or red blood cell count is perceived to be abnormally high due to an increased concentration of blood. This can happen as a result of plasma volume loss from dehydration, severe vomiting or diarrhea, or excessive sweating. Polycythemia in these situations may be called relative polycythemia, because the actual numbers of red blood cells are not abnormal.

What is stress polycythemia?

Stress polycythemia is a term applied to a chronic (long standing) state of low plasma volume which is seen commonly in active, hard working, anxious, middle-aged men. In these people, the red blood cell volume is normal, but the plasma volume is low. This condition is also known as Gaisbock's disease, stress erythrocytosis, or pseudopolycythemia.

Smoker's polycythemia is a similar condition in which increased levels of deoxygenated hemoglobin (hemoglobin that does not carry oxygen, instead carrying carbon dioxide) causes an increase in red blood cell counts.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 1/22/2014

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Source: MedicineNet.com
http://www.medicinenet.com/polycythemia_high_red_blood_cell_count/article.htm

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