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Is there a genetic cause of polycythemia vera?

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Most people with polycythemia vera have a problem in a gene called the JAK2 gene. Your bone marrow -- the spongy, center part of your bone -- creates your blood cells. Normally, it makes just the right amount. But if your JAK2 gene doesn’t work right, your bone marrow makes too many red blood cells.

Even though the problem is in a gene, you don’t get polycythemia vera from your parents. The gene changes at some point after you're born, but doctors don’t know why.

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: “Polycythemia Vera.”

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Explore Polycythemia Vera.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center: “Polycythemia Vera.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine, Health Library: “Polycythemia Vera.”

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on October 19, 2020

SOURCES:

Mayo Clinic: “Polycythemia Vera.”

National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute: “Explore Polycythemia Vera.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine, The Sidney Kimmel Comprehensive Cancer Center: “Polycythemia Vera.”

Johns Hopkins Medicine, Health Library: “Polycythemia Vera.”

Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario on October 19, 2020

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What are the symptoms of polycythemia vera?

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