Types of Chronic Myeloproliferative Disorders

Types of Chronic Myeloproliferative Disorders

Chronic Myelogenous Leukemia

Chronic myelogenous leukemia is a disease in which too many white blood cells are made in the bone marrow.

Polycythemia Vera

Polycythemia Vera is a disease in which too many red blood cells are made in the bone marrow. In Polycythemia Vera, the blood becomes thickened with too many red blood cells. The number of white blood cells and platelets may also increase. These extra blood cells may collect in the spleen and cause it to swell. The increased number of red blood cells or platelets in the blood can cause bleeding problems and make clots form in blood vessels. This can increase the risk of stroke or heart attack. In patients who are older than 65 years or who have a history of blood clots, the risk of stroke or heart attack is higher. Patients also have an increased risk of developing acute myeloid leukemia or primary myelofibrosis.

Signs and symptoms

  • A feeling of pressure or fullness below the ribs on the left side.
  • Headaches.
  • Double vision or seeing dark or blind spots that come and go.
  • Itching all over the body, especially after being in warm or hot water.
  • Reddened face that looks like a blush or sunburn.
  • Weakness.
  • Dizziness.
  • Weight loss for no known reason.

Diagnosis

In addition to a complete blood count, bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, and cytogenetic analysis, a serum erythropoietin test is used to diagnose Polycythemia Vera. In this test, a sample of blood is checked for the level of erythropoietin (a hormone that stimulates new red blood cells to be made).

Primary Myelofibrosis

Primary myelofibrosis is a disease in which abnormal blood cells and fibers build up inside the bone marrow. The bone marrow is made of tissues that make blood cells (red blood cells, white blood cells, and platelets) and a web of fibers that support the blood-forming tissues. In primary myelofibrosis (also called chronic idiopathic myelofibrosis), large numbers of blood stem cells develop into blood cells that do not mature properly (blasts). The web of fibers inside the bone marrow also becomes very thick (like scar tissue) and slows the blood-forming tissue’s ability to make blood cells. This causes the blood-forming tissues to make fewer and fewer blood cells. In order to make up for the low number of blood cells made in the bone marrow, the liver and spleen begin to make the blood cells.

Signs and symptoms

  • Feeling pain or fullness below the ribs on the left side.
  • Feeling full sooner than normal when eating.
  • Feeling very tired.
  • Shortness of breath.
  • Easy bruising or bleeding.
  • Petechiae (flat, red, pinpoint spots under the skin that are caused by bleeding).
  • Fever.
  • Night sweats.
  • Weight loss.

Diagnosis

In addition to a complete blood count, bone marrow aspiration and biopsy, and cytogenetic analysis, a peripheral blood smear is used to diagnose primary myelofibrosis. A peripheral blood smear is a procedure in which a sample of blood is checked for tear drop-shaped red blood cells, the number and kinds of white blood cells, the number of platelets, and the presence of blast cells.

Prognosis

Prognosis (chance of recovery) depends on the following:
  • The age of the patient.
  • The number of abnormal red blood cells and white blood cells.
  • The number of blasts in the blood.
  • Whether there are certain changes in the chromosomes.
  • Whether the patient has symptoms such as fever, night sweats, or weight loss.

Essential Thrombocythemia

Essential thrombocythemia is a type of Chronic Myeloproliferative Disorder in which too many platelets are made in the bone marrow. Essential thrombocythemia causes an abnormal increase in the number of platelets made in the blood and bone marrow.

Symptoms

  • Headache.
  • Burning or tingling in the hands or feet.
  • Redness and warmth of the hands or feet.
  • Vision or hearing problems.
Platelets are sticky. When there are too many platelets, they may clump together and make it hard for the blood to flow. Clots may form in blood vessels and there may also be increased bleeding. These can cause serious health problems such as stroke or heart attack.

Prognosis

Prognosis (chance of recovery) and treatment options depend on the following:
  • The age of the patient.
  • Whether the patient has symptoms or other problems related to essential thrombocythemia.

Chronic Eosinophilic Leukemia

Chronic eosinophilic leukemia is a disease in which too many white blood cells (eosinophils) are made in the bone marrow. Eosinophils are white blood cells that react to allergens (substances that cause an allergic response) and help fight infections caused by certain parasites. In chronic eosinophilic leukemia, there are too many eosinophils in the blood, bone marrow, and other tissues. Chronic eosinophilic leukemia may stay the same for many years or it may progress quickly to acute leukemia.

Symptoms

  • Fever.
  • Feeling very tired.
  • Cough.
  • Swelling under the skin around the eyes and lips, in the throat, or on the hands and feet.
  • Muscle pain.
  • Itching.
  • Diarrhea.
Contact us to request an appointment with one of the hematologists at Diablo Valley Oncology to discuss your symtoms, obtain a second diagnosis or learn more about the available treatment options.