The first indication you have the disorder may be the development of a blood clot (thrombus). Clots can develop anywhere in your body, but with essential thrombocythemia they occur most often in your brain, hands and feet.
Signs and symptoms depend on where the clot forms. They include:
- Dizziness or lightheadedness
- Chest pain
- Temporary vision changes
- Numbness or tingling of the hands and feet
- Redness, throbbing and burning pain in the hands and feet (erythromelalgia)
- Mildly enlarged spleen
Less commonly, essential thrombocythemia may cause bleeding, especially if your platelet count is extremely high (more than 1 million platelets per microliter of blood). Bleeding may take the form of:
- Bleeding from your mouth or gums
- Bloody stool
If a blood clot occurs in the arteries that supply the brain, it may cause a transient ischemic attack (TIA) or stroke. A TIA, or ministroke, is a temporary interruption of blood flow to part of the brain. Signs and symptoms of a stroke or TIA develop suddenly and include:
- Weakness or numbness of your face, arm or leg, usually on one side of your body
- Difficulty speaking or understanding speech (aphasia)
- Blurred, double or decreased vision
When to see a doctor
Seek medical attention immediately:
June 24, 2015
- If you develop signs or symptoms of a TIA or stroke, such as numbness or paralysis on one side of your body
- If you have any signs or symptoms of abnormal blood clotting or bleeding
- Thrombocythemia. Merck Manuals Professional Version. http://www.merckmanuals.com/professional/SearchResults?query=essential+thrombocythemia. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- Tefferi A. Diagnosis and clinical manifestations of essential thrombocythemia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- What are thrombocythemia and thrombocytosis? National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/thrm. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- Essential thrombocythemia. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/myeloproliferative/HealthProfessional/page5. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- Tefferi A. Prognosis and treatment of essential thrombocythemia. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- Myeloproliferative disorders. Lab Tests Online. http://labtestsonline.org/understanding/conditions/myelopro-disorders/start/2. Accessed May 11, 2015.
- Mesa RA (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Phoenix/Scottsdale, Ariz. May 16, 2015.
- Stroke: Hope through research. National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. http://www.ninds.nih.gov/disorders/stroke/stroke.htm. Accessed May 19, 2015.
- Warning signs of a heart attack. http://www.heart.org/HEARTORG/Conditions/HeartAttack/WarningSignsofaHeartAttack/Warning-Signs-of-a-Heart-Attack_UCM_002039_Article.jsp. Accessed May 12, 2015.
- Chronic myeloproliferative neoplasms treatment. National Cancer Institute. http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/myeloproliferative/Patient/page1/AllPages. Accessed May 13, 2015.