How polycythaemia is diagnosed

Polycythaemiacan bediagnosed by carrying out a blood test to check:

  • the number of red blood cells in your blood ( red blood cell count )
  • the amount of space the red blood cells take up in the blood (haematocrit level)

A high concentration of red blood cells suggests you have polycythaemia.

Your GP may have ordereda blood test because you reported some of the above symptoms or complications, but polycythaemia is sometimes only discovered during a routine blood test for another reason.

Your GP may refer you to a haematologist (a specialist in conditions affecting the blood) for more tests, to confirm the diagnosis and to determine the underlying cause.

These may includea blood test to look for the faulty JAK2 gene and an ultrasound scan of your abdomen to look for problems in your kidneys.

Content supplied by the NHS Website

Medically Reviewed by a doctor on 21 Dec 2018