Polycythemia (or Polycythaemia, see spelling differences) vera (PV, PCV) (also known as erythremia, primary polycythemia and polycythemia rubra vera) is a disorder in which the bone marrow makes too many red blood cells. It may also result in the overproduction of white blood cells and platelets.
Most of the health concerns associated with polycythemia vera are caused by the blood being thicker as a result of the increased red blood cells. It is more common in the elderly and may be symptomatic or asymptomatic. Common signs and symptoms include itching (pruritus), and severe burning pain in the hands or feet that is usually accompanied by a reddish or bluish coloration of the skin. Patients with polycythemia vera are more likely to have gouty arthritis. Treatment consists primarily of phlebotomy.