Essential thrombocythemia: know the causes, symptoms and treatments

 Essential thrombocythemia: know the causes, symptoms and treatments

Lena Fisher

Essential thrombocythemia (ET) is a myeloproliferative disease, i.e., it causes an uncontrolled increase in blood cells, and affects platelets in particular. The condition is classified as a cancer, as stated by Dr. Carmino Antonio Souza, hematologist at the Society of Medicine and Surgery of Campinas (SMCC), and is also known as hemorrhagic thrombocythemia.

Like polycythemia vera (PV), another myeloproliferative disease, ET has no single cause and may also be associated with the same JAK2 oncogene, but at a lower frequency than in PV. However, unlike PV, essential thrombocythemia has a higher incidence in younger adults, not in the elderly.

Read more:Polycythemia vera: what is the disease, symptoms and treatment

What are the symptoms?

According to the doctor, the most common symptom is cutaneous-mucosal bleeding, especially when the patient's platelet count gets too high.

In some cases, there may also be hyperviscosity, a condition that makes the blood "thickened" and unable to flow freely through the blood vessels.

Diagnosis of the disease can occur through a complete blood count, but there is also the possibility of the condition being identified after heavy bleeding that requires rapid intervention, as the hematologist explains.

Is essential thrombocythemia curable? What are the treatments?

The disease has no cure, but it is usually a perfectly manageable condition. "In general, intermittent treatment (when necessary) is done with the drug hydroxyurea," explains Dr. Carmino. "JAK2 oncogene inhibitors can be part of the treatment."

Furthermore, in urgent cases, it is also possible to perform a plateletpheresis procedure with mechanical removal of the "excess" platelets.

How long does a person with essential thrombocythemia live?

The doctor explains that the disease has a good prognosis, with good evolution in most cases. Usually, people who suffer from this condition die due to other causes.

However, in rare cases, essential thrombocythemia can kill, with progression to bone marrow fibrosis (with failure) and acute leukemia.

Also read: Low Platelets: What it is, causes and treatment

Source: Dr. Carmino Antonio Souza, hematologist of the Society of Medicine and Surgery of Campinas (SMCC) .

Lena Fisher

Lena Fisher is a wellness enthusiast, certified nutritionist, and author of the popular health and well-being blog. With over a decade of experience in the field of nutrition and health coaching, Lena has dedicated her career to helping people achieve their optimal health and live their best life possible. Her passion for wellness has led her to explore various approaches to achieving overall health, including diet, exercise, and mindfulness practices. Lena's blog is a culmination of her years of research, experience, and personal journey towards finding balance and well-being. Her mission is to inspire and empower others to make positive changes in their lives and embrace a healthy lifestyle. When she's not writing or coaching clients, you can find Lena practicing yoga, hiking the trails, or experimenting with new healthy recipes in the kitchen.