Essential Thrombocythemia

Platelets are also called thrombocytes. These are one of the vital components of the blood which function to stop bleeding and help in clotting blood vessels in case of any injury. The normal range of platelets in our body is— 150, 000 to 450, 000 per micro liter. If the count is less than 150, 000 per micro liter, then it is termed as ‘thrombocytopenia’.

But in essential thrombocythemia (ET) the number of platelets is increased. What is essential thrombocythemia? Essential thrombocythemia is a chronic myeloproliferative neoplasm (MPN). It is commonly seen in the women over 50 years of age.


The exact cause of (ET) and (MPNs) is unknown. These conditions are not genetically inherited ones. But there is a chance of familial predisposition to the disease in few patients.

It is believed that mutation in the genes modify the activity of the proteins that controls the pathways in patients with ET because signaling pathways play a vital role in the cell regulation, growth, and development.

The most common risk factors associated with ET are:

The foremost prominent symptom would be extreme fatigue; other ebola virus symptoms would include:

  • Gender
  • Women are at a higher risk for developing ET

  • JAK2 mutation
  • Mutation to these genes makes the body produce abnormal or increased number of cells

  • Age
  • If you are older than 50 years, then the risk of you developing ET is high, but there are still evidence that people below 40 years have also suffered from the condition.

In the early stages, ET is asymptomatic. If the symptoms are present they may commonly include the symptoms related to small vessel damages such as:

  • Headache
  • Blurred vision
  • Bluish coloration of fingers and toes
  • Burning sensation, and pain in the hands and feet
  • Nosebleed or heavy menstruation
  • Gastrointestinal bleeding
  • Blood in urine

There may be chances of thrombotic complications that result in stroke, transient ischemia attack, heart attack, deep vein thrombosis (DVT), and blood clotting in the abdominal veins.

Your doctor might order for the following tests to detect ET in you:

Blood test

A routine blood test may show a high count of platelets. This is also performed to exclude other causes such as iron deficiency anemia and inflammation in the body.

Bone marrow biopsy

To look for the classical signs of ET or to rule out the early phase of myeloproliferative neoplasm a bone marrow biopsy is performed.

Gene mutation studies

Your doctor would recommend for a gene mutation test that studies JAK2 mutations, CALR or MPL mutations.

If you are asymptomatic, you may not require any medication for ET. Others may require several treatments and therapies, to get symptomatic relief.

Available treatment options include:

Low-Dose Aspirin

Your doctor might prescribe you a low dose of aspirin to reduce the risk of blood clots and to relieve you from the burning sensation in the hands and feet that are caused due to ET.


If you are in the category of patients that require treatment with drugs, your doctor will prescribe you hydroxyurea as a first line agent. It reduces the risk of blood clotting.


If you are the one who is intolerant to hyrdoxyurea, then your doctor would prescribe a platelet lowering drug called Anagrelide.


If you are a pregnant woman with ET, then your doctor would prescribe interferon for treating ET.

Apart from taking regular medications, you must also try to inculcate certain healthy habits into your daily routine, such as the following tips:

  • You must eat healthy foods that should include whole grains, fresh fruits, and vegetables. Your diet should be low in saturated fats. You must totally avoid trans fats.
  • You must increase your physical activity. Try to take a brisk walk or ride your bike or swim.
  • You must keep your weight in control, because being obese increases the pressure on the pelvic veins and legs, which can be the risk factors for high blood pressure.
  • You must quit smoking and avoid alcohol consumption