Erythrocytosis: Symptoms and Treatment

Erythrocytosis is not a disease, but is a condition that indicates the presence in the body of certain pathological processes. Despite the fact that such a condition is not a disease, in itself it pose a danger to a person, as with erythrocytosis there is a thickening of the blood, which leads to the formation of thrombi, and this can lead to the development of dangerous complications.


In medical practice, three forms of this pathological condition are distinguished. And each of them has its own reasons for development.

The first form is true erythrocytosis . It is rare enough and the reasons for its development lie in defective genes and heredity. With this form, bone marrow proliferation occurs, which produces a large number of erythrocytes, which leads to an increase in their concentration in the blood. There are other reasons for the development of the true form of the pathological condition. In particular, it can occur in people who have been poisoned with carbon monoxide or in those who have various airway pathologies associated with hypoxia, that is, insufficient intake of oxygen into the blood.

The second form of violation is the absolute erythrocytosis , which is also called secondary. With this form, the growth of bone marrow does not occur, and the increase in the number of red blood cells is associated with various pathological processes in the human body. The causes of secondary erythrocytosis may be as follows:

  • Oncological diseases
  • benign tumor-like processes
  • prolonged hypoxia (for example, in smokers)
  • pulmonary and pulmonary disease
  • hemoglobinopathy

The reasons that caused this form of violation are not only pathological, but also physiological. So, if a person lives in a high-altitude area where oxygen is insufficiently received, his blood becomes thicker, and the number of red blood cells per liter increases. In addition, to cause such a condition as erythrocytosis, work with certain substances capable of binding hemoglobin can. For example, such an agent is aniline.

The third form, the reasons for which are related to the decrease in water content in the blood, is relative erythrocytosis . Such a condition can occur suddenly and be of the nature of an acute or chronic disorder. The reasons for it are:

  1. Dehydration caused by various causes, including prolonged diarrhea or vomiting
  2. large blood loss with open or internal bleeding
  3. poisoning with toxic substances
  4. hypertensive crisis.

Also, this form of pathological condition occurs in people who are obese to some extent, or those who use diuretics that increase urination. In addition, the relative form can arise as a temporary phenomenon in stressful situations and mental disorders. In this case, after the termination of the stress factor, the level of red blood cells in the blood returns to normal.

More specifically, most often erythrocytosis in men and women develops due to diseases such as:

  • uterine fibroids;
  • infarction
  • spleen tumor
  • Tuberculosis
  • Vascular stenosis.

However, if a person has an erythrocytosis, this does not mean that he has one of the above pathologies. Therefore, it should not be frightened at once — it is necessary to undergo a full examination in order to reveal the main cause of the violation. And the sooner this is done, the higher the probability that the problem will be solved without much difficulty.


Symptomatically, this violation can not be manifested for a long time. Therefore, learn about the fact that he has erythrocytosis, a person can accidentally, when passing a biochemical blood test during a preventive examination.

The norm of erythrocytes in the blood ranges from 3.7 to 5.5×10 12 g / l. Therefore, if this value is increased to 6 or higher, there is a violation.

Symptoms of a pathology are usually associated with the underlying disease that caused it. But if the erythrocytosis remains unrecognized for a long time, a person can have such signs:

  1. drowsiness and fatigue;
  2. dizziness (sometimes until unconscious)
  3. Impairment of hearing and sight
  4. angina, joint and muscle pain
  5. frequent bleeding from the nose

Because of the fact that with erythrocytosis, the blood condenses, its outflow is disturbed. This can cause a symptom such as redness of the face.


As mentioned above, it is impossible to diagnose, based only on the symptoms of such a disorder as erythrocytosis, because it is symptomatically almost not manifested. Therefore, it is only the physician who can be suspected of having a pathology in accordance with the results of clinical analyzes.

An important role in diagnosis is given to establishing the cause of the development of erythrocytosis. To this end, the patient is assigned a comprehensive examination, including laboratory and instrumental diagnostics. Also, differential diagnosis of erythrocytosis with other blood disorders should be carried out.

Treatment features

For a person to have a red blood cell level back to normal, it is necessary to eliminate the underlying cause that caused the disorder. Therefore, the treatment of erythrocytosis will be individual in each case and will depend on the nature and severity of the underlying pathology. In benign formations, surgery for their removal is shown, in malignant formations — removal and chemotherapy.

Many diseases leading to erythrocytosis are treated conservatively — anti-inflammatory drugs, cytostatics are prescribed.

When the patient is hypoxic, oxygen therapy is required, and in severe cases, the use of drugs that dilute blood is indicated. In the hereditary form of pathology, in which there is an increased formation of red blood cells in the bone marrow, it is shown that bloodletting followed by the introduction of glucose and blood substitutes.

It is important for patients to follow a diet during treatment. Do not eat foods with a high content of iron — preferably recommended to eat vegetable and milk dishes. It is obligatory for people with such a violation to drink a lot of liquid, which reduces the viscosity of the blood. It can be like ordinary water, and herbal infusions, teas and compotes.