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[mass noun] An abnormally increased concentration of haemoglobin in the blood, either through reduction of plasma volume or increase in red cell numbers. It may be a primary disease of unknown cause, or a secondary condition linked to respiratory or circulatory disorder or cancer.
- ‘Severe polycythaemia increases the viscosity of the blood and probably leads to problems with unloading oxygen from the blood to the tissues.’
- ‘This is more than twice the production rate in adults, primarily because of relative polycythemia and increased red blood cell turnover in neonates.’
- ‘In patients with chronic hypoxemic lung disease, polycythemia has been shown to impair the vasodilator response to acetylcholine.’
- ‘Because in chronic pulmonary disease both hypoxemia and polycythemia are simultaneously present, their individual effects on the pulmonary circulation have been difficult to define.’
- ‘The differential diagnoses included chronic hepatitis, idiopathic urticaria, uremia, polycythemia, thyroid disease, and malignancy, among others.’
Mid 19th century: modern Latin, from poly- ‘many’+ -cyte ‘cell’+ haemo- ‘blood’+ -ia.
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