Essential Thrombocythemia (ET)

What is Essential Thrombocythemia (ET) in Detail?

Essential thrombocythemia (ET) is a chronic blood disorder in which the bone marrow makes too many platelets. Platelets are small parts of the blood; they help with clot formation if a person is injured. People with essential thrombocythemia have a greater risk of blood clots, strokes, and heart attacks.

The cause of essential thrombocythemia is unknown, but it is believed to be related to changes in the genes that control platelet production. It is usually seen in people over the age of 50, although it can occur at any age. It is more common in women than in men.

Symptoms of ET

Symptoms of essential thrombocythemia can vary greatly. Some people may experience no symptoms, while others may experience:

  • Fatigue
  • Headache
  • Bruising or bleeding
  • Dizziness
  • Shortness of breath
  • Chest pain
  • Rash

Patients may also experience vision changes, tingling, confusion, pain in the extremities, numbness, and rashes.

Diagnosis and Treatment of ET

The diagnosis of essential thrombocythemia is made by a complete physical examination and thorough medical history. Blood tests and bone marrow tests may be ordered to confirm the diagnosis. The patient's platelet count will be measured to determine if they have too many platelets.

Treatment for essential thrombocythemia includes medications such as aspirin, hydroxyurea, interferon, and other blood thinners to reduce the risk of blood clots. Surgery may be used to remove the spleen, which helps to reduce the platelet count. Radiation therapy may also be used to reduce the production of platelets.

Patients should be monitored regularly to make sure that the platelet count stays low. They should also avoid activities that could cause a fall or injury since this could increase the risk of bleeding. It is important for patients to be aware of the signs and symptoms of a blood clot so that they can seek medical attention if necessary.